Amherst Magazine

Richard Whitney Bryant '41

Dick Bryant died April 19, 2008, in Stephenville, TX, after a short illness.  He was eighty-eight.  Dick was born in Lexington, MA, and raised in Lockport, NY.  He majored in history at Amherst and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa his junior year.  He was a member of Phi Kappa Psi and very active in the Christian Association, of which he was president his senior year.  He was a member of the Glee Club, and of the Speakers’ Club his last three years in college, and participated three years in debating.

After Amherst, Dick studied at the McCormick Seminary in Chicago, graduating in 1945.  He then made the decision to go into mission work in China with the United Presbyterian Church.  Dick and his first wife, Adeline Fox Bryant, went to China in 1946, residing in Beijing while doing language study.  Following the death of Adeline in childbirth, Dick fell in love with Evelyn Coovert, a Lutheran missionary nurse working in Tsingtao.  They were married on December 31, 1948. Driven out of China by the communists, Dick and Evelyn were sent to Thailand.  First he was at the McGilvary Theological Seminary in Chiang Mai where Dick taught theology.  (Evelyn was a nurse, and their two vocations influenced many changes of assignment over the years.)  After ten years in Chiang Mai, the Bryants moved to southern Thailand helping with country churches and evangelizing.  They returned to Chiang Mai in 1977 when Dick was made the director of the McKean Rehabilitation Institute, a facility for the treatment and vocational training of leprosy patients.  Dick and Evelyn retired for the first time in 1986, but after retirement, they returned to Thailand as volunteers on at least five occasions, the most recent being in 2006.

Dick was a devoted family man who dearly loved and was proud of his four children and their various spouses and of his eight grandchildren.  His daughter, Sharon, is a pastor in Stephenville.

Dick was a devoted supporter of his Class and of the College, though he was not often able to return to Amherst.  I am sure we of the Class who attended our 50th Reunion in 1991 remember well Dick’s strong and provocative sermon as part of the Remembrance Service our final day of Reunion.

Evelyn Bryant included me in a mailing, dated April 22, descriptive of Dick’s final days:

“Dear Friends, This is just a short note to tell you of the celebration Of LIFE ETERNAL for my husband Dick. He was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas and within a week was gone from our midst.  Our four children and two of our grandchildren were here for the last three days.  We often gathered round his bed and sang hymns or read Scripture. Even though Dick wandered in and out of consciousness, he joined us in singing when he could and moving his lips when he couldn’t draw on strength for voice.  Tears have been many but also much laughter when memories crowd in. We are planning a Celebration of Life for Dick on Sunday, June 15, 2008, at 3 pm at the First Presbyterian Church of Stephenville. Thank you for your friendship, prayers, and love.  Our precious Lord has blessed us with joy and peace. Love, Evelyn.”

—Henry B. Prickitt ’41

 

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