Tribute to Roger N. Bryant

Written by Raymond E. Gaines.

 

Tribute to Roger N. Bryant

1958-2024

 

Roger Bryant, who spent over half his life with The Gaines Group, passed away peacefully on May 25, 2024.  Roger’s life embodied creativity, adventure, family, and faith, but not in that order.

Roger was a man of deep faith.  When I first met and hired him, the list of hobbies on his employment application included Gospel singing with his family as item number one.  The depth of his faith became apparent to me as I got to know him over the 33½ years that we worked together.

Roger was a family man, even though he remained single his entire life.  He often spoke of his love of family when he would talk about his nieces and nephews and his relationships with his parents, grandparents, siblings, and aunts and uncles.  Roger was always there for them as they navigated the good times as well as the illnesses and tragedies of life.  He participated in at least three family reunions annually, and typically organized the Labor Day gathering at the family home.  He also spoke fondly of the times he spent on the Cowpasture River and at Douthat State Park each year with his family.

Roger was a world traveler.  When I first met him, he had just returned from Europe.  He spoke of multiple trips to Europe and “the islands”, often traveling to sing with the family.  He visited The UK, Germany, and Russia over the years that we worked together, and told many amusing stories arising from these trips.  When he retired, he was following his brother-in-law, Bob, on his quest to run marathons in all fifty states, watching the races with his sister, Belva.  I do not know if he ever completed that particular quest.

Finally, Roger was a talented designer and mentor.  His hands-on knowledge of building materials and his ability to use them in aesthetically and stylistically pleasing ways is a talent that few possess.  Roger was comfortable with any style, particularly with Virginia Vernacular.  His body of work also includes Georgian, French Provincial, Prairie, Contemporary (whatever that is) and a touch of Art Deco.  He would always share that with our younger staff.  You have most likely touched Roger’s work from his years as an industrial designer prior to 1989.

Roger’s design talent was not limited to just the built world but he was a genius at floral arranging.  He did the flowers for multiple weddings over the years, and would personally arrange sympathy flowers when they were called for.

He was a loyal friend and colleague from the day he started work in January 1989 until his retirement at the end of June 2022.  He watched my three daughters grow up, and mentored one of them as an interior designer.  He provided a living example to them, and all of us, of how to be a Christian in today’s world.

Rest in peace my friend.

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