Amherst, Winter, 2006
Steven P. Bryant ‘63
Steve Bryant, our classmate, roommate and fraternity brother, was killed on October 17th when his pickup rolled off Interstate 90 in Montana returning from a hunt. A memorial service, held at the Missoula Children’s Theatre, was attended by 400 of Steve’s friends and family. After many moving and humorous eulogies, the entire group of four hundred stood and broke into applause.
That outpouring of affection comes as no surprise to those of us who knew Steve at Amherst and in the Lodge at Chi Psi. He was a warm, good humored and decent man. As a member of the lacrosse, hockey and ski teams, Steve was not particularly known for his form, but his consistency, determination and encouraging support for his teammates was never in doubt.
Ever the modest and self-reliant New Englander, Steve’s passions ran deeply and embraced his family, his friends, his career, the outdoors and his community. In each of those areas his commitments were absolute and his accomplishments were numerous.
After Amherst, Steve served a brief stint with the Marines, and then attended Stanford’s Business School, receiving his MBA in 1966. He worked in consulting with Ernst and Ernst and McKinsey and then joined Foster Farms in Livingston, California, retiring in 2001 as its Vice President of Corporate Development, having helped lead the phenomenal growth of that poultry business. As an executive, he was deeply devoted to all those who worked for him, some of whom remained life long devoted friends.
His first marriage of 21 years ended with the loss of Karen to cancer in 1992. They had two daughters, Shannon and Amber. He remarried in 1996 to Kathleen Nickel, who had similarly lost her husband to cancer. Her two children, Barclay and Charlotte, became Steve’s and Steve became their devoted father.
Steve’s love of the outdoors took him from small farming ventures and epic duck hunts in California’s Central Valley to the construction of a solar-powered cabin on the Blackfoot River in Montana with his friend Fritz Schneidman.
The lure of Montana led to Steve and Kathi’s move to Missoula in 1998, summering on the Blackfoot where Steve mastered the tricky arts of float boating, fly fishing and hunting Montana’s abundant game. His untimely death came at what seemed like a highpoint in Steve’s life. Those of us who saw him at our 40th reunion saw a man full of energy, love for his wife and actively engaged in his new and exciting life in Montana.
Steve gave of himself generously to his community, especially through his leadership of the Missoula Children’s Theatre and Trout Unlimited. He will be missed by many, not the least by his Amherst friends.
Tom Zuckerman ‘63
Steve Rosenblum ‘63
Lex Brainerd '63