Jean Morgan Bryant died April 3, 2012 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She was 85 years old.
Jean was born on December 30, 1926, in Oak Bluffs, the daughter of Fred B. and Doris Taylor Morgan. She grew up in Edgartown with her older brothers Bob and Ted during a time when cream-capped bottles of milk came to the door, neighbors visited on porches and in parlors, while radios entertained and informed. Jean was a bright and energetic child who played happily with friends and excelled at school and sports. All the while she watched and admired her big brothers. Jean sang so well in the Federated Church Youth Choir she was given voice lessons. She studied tap dancing as well and performed for Island audiences.
During her high school years. Jean and her friend Phyllis Galley had the wartime task of spotting planes, boats, and submarines from the observation post at the water tower. After graduating from Edgartown High School, Jean completed a two-year program at Bryant Stratton Commercial School in Boston. When she returned home to Martha’s Vineyard she worked at the Vineyard Gazette and the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society.
In 1946, Jean met and married Nelson Bryant of West Tisbury. He had returned home from the war and was preparing to attend Dartmouth College. They lived in housing for married students in Hanover, New Hampshire. During this time, Jean gave birth to her sons Stephen and Jeffrey. Although college life provided a rich social and academic experience for Jean and her young family, she always looked forward to coming home to Martha’s Vineyard. For a brief time they lived in Gloucester and in 1955 they moved to Claremont, New Hampshire, where Nelson took the job of Managing Editor at the Claremont Daily Eagle. Jean gave birth in Claremont to her daughters, Mary and Alison. She was active in the League of Women Voters and made friends she remained in touch with there for the rest of her life.
In 1966, Jean and her family moved back to Martha’s Vineyard year-round, where she spent the last half of her life. She enjoyed giving generously to the island community that had given her so much. Jean returned to the Vineyard Gazette for a time and to the Federated Church choir. She was an active member of its various committees and especially relished her time with the church ladies in the parish hall kitchen. Jean’s response to any request for help was invariably, yes. She served on the Friends of the Library committee and volunteered at the Mental Health Center and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Jean enjoyed her work as bookkeeper for Burnham and Magnuson Builders and as secretary to Norman Bridwell, author of “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” Her life outside of the home came second to her role of wife and mother. Jean particularly enjoyed supporting and assisting her husband Nelson in his perhaps most important job as Outdoor Editor for the New York Times.
Wherever Jean lived she made a lovely home and her door was open to everyone. She was a great cook and took delight hosting friends and family for special and spontaneous occasions at which she also served up her warmth and wit. People loved the company of Jean as much as she loved theirs. She was known for her sense of humor and optimism which prevailed during the most difficult times. Towards the end of her life Jean found an awesome strength. In spite of a several-year struggle with illness, she never gave up. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Jean was predeceased by her parents, her brother Robert T. Morgan, her daughter Alison Child, and her daughter-in-law Lissa Bryant.
She leaves Nelson Bryant of West Tisbury, her brother Fred B. Morgan of Edgartown, her children Stephen Bryant of Bradford, Maine, Jeffrey Bryant of West Tisbury, Mary Bailey and her partner, Christopher Allen of Oak Bluffs, her grandchildren Joshua Bryant of North Carolina, Justin and Samuel Bryant of West Tisbury, Robin Bryant of Bradford, Maine, Morgan and Jesse Child of West Tisbury, Lucinda Bailey and her fiance James Salmoiraghi of Edgartown, William B. Bailey and his father, William H. Bailey of Edgartown, She also leaves her great-grandchildren Eli and Tessa Bryant of West Tisbury, her sisters-in-law Allouise and Floss Morgan of Edgartown, as well as other beloved extended family members and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 11 am at the Federated Church on South Summer Street in Edgartown, with a reception to follow.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.