On March 9, 2017, our beloved, Kenneth Justin Bryant, faithful Christian and World War II veteran of Okinawa, departed this earth to join a host of loved ones awaiting his arrival in Heaven.
Kenneth was born on July 17, 1921, in Blooming Grove, Texas, to William Alexander Bryant and Vera Bell Watson Bryant. He was a 1940 graduate of Blooming Grove High School, lettered four years on the Lions football team and graduated from Business College.
He married the love of his life, Fabris Adine Sykes, on February 14, 1942, and when Fabris took her departure to Heaven on January 27, 2012, the Valentine couple were just 18 days shy of their 70th wedding anniversary. The Bryants have been featured in several Daily Light Valentine pictorials down through the decades as they had been residents of Waxahachie since 1966.
Kenneth and Fabris were the parents of two children, both longtime Waxahachie residents, William Jefferson “Jeff” Bryant and Deborah Dean Bryant Foster. They were grandparents of Jeffry Russell of Highlands Ranch, Colorado; Chief Petty Officer Phillip Justin “PJ” Foster, USN, of Panama City, Florida; Tammi Foster Bates of Plano; Stephanie Foster Eitrheim of Austin; Stephen Foster, Jr., of Highlands Ranch, Colorado; Lowell Glenn Bryant of Waxahachie; Julie Forgason of Chatfield; Bryan Cravens of Waxahachie and Kelly Cravens of Blooming Grove. They are also survived by a number of great grandchildren and several great-great grandchildren.
The Bryants were members of Farley Street Baptist Church for more than thirty years and also Heritage Baptist Church for 14 years. Kenneth taught Sunday School, and they both sang in the choir and were members of several committees within the church community. Kenneth helped Fabris with her voluntary duties as she was a member in long standing with Baylor Hospital Auxiliary.
In the spring of 1945, Kenneth Bryant was dispatched aboard the Day Starship to an island off the coast of Japan in the China Sea. America needed Okinawa Island as a base to plan to attack the mainland of Japan, in order to end the war. Not only did Kenneth survive the conflicts of Okinawa but after the Japanese surrender in August, there were many snipers on the island who never heard about the surrender and continued to attack American service people. Also, in October, before being sent home, he survived one of the worst typhoons the island had ever endured in Typhoon Louise.
“We were told it was every man for himself since we were living in huts and with the storm coming we had to seek our own shelter,” Kenneth recalled years later. He crawled under a large rock and held on for dear life and by morning when the storm finally passed by he returned to find a hut lifted and dropped right on top of his hut and destroyed.
Since he was in the Navy Reserves in 1950, Kenneth was called back into duty for the Korean Conflict. He and Fabris and son Jeff moved to California while he trained for active duty but was discharged due to a medical problem prior to going overseas.
Kenneth Bryant will long be remembered for his gentleness, his kindness, and his humility. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1972, then worked for the Dart Container as a maintenance man. In the early 1980’s Kenneth teamed up with several retired men of Waxahachie (J.W. Mauldin, Wayne Phillips, Pat Ramsey, among others) to form what they called the Over the Hill Gang. This team made up a complete construction team, doing jobs all over the county for a few years. Kenneth also drew the plans and built three homes in Ellis County and one in Navarro County, doing most of the work himself or with family help.
Family time and visitation for friends will be from 6 pm. until 8 p.m. at the Wayne Boze Funeral Chapel in Waxahachie on March 12. Mr. Bryant requested an outdoor service at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Blooming Grove where he will be interred in the family plot. The service will be held March 13, 2017, at 3 p.m. and will be conducted by Brother Richard Smith of Farley Street Baptist Church and Kenneth‘s grandson, Steve Foster, Jr.