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Community mourns loss of longtime educator

South Boston News
Bryant / July 17, 2017

Friends and colleagues remember Morris Bryant, a longtime county educator and South Boston Town Council member who died Thursday, as “the kind of guy who would help anyone,” in the words of longtime friend Bristol Martin of South Boston.

“He was such a nice guy, he probably got more out of people by approaching it that way,” said Martin of Bryant’s career as a school administrator and supervisor of elementary education in Halifax County.

Bryant died Thursday at the age of 75 after an extended illness. Funeral arrangements are pending, with an announcement expected later this week.

He served as an assistant superintendent of Halifax County Public Schools under former Superintendents of School Ken Walker and Dennis Witt. Bryant also was elected to several terms on South Boston Town Council following his retirement from the school system in 2004.

Ann Conner, a retired English teacher at Halifax County High School, expressed fond memories of her years working with Bryant on a daily basis.

“I simply cannot say enough good things about him. He was totally dedicated to the education of Halifax youth and was known as a key problem solver. He was a strong family man, a devout Christian and a true gentleman.”

Bryant began his career in Halifax County in 1966 or thereabouts, said Martin, a retired teacher and principal who began working for the local schools in 1967. Bryant’s first job with the school division was as an elementary school teacher.

He later became a school principal before moving into Central Office administration. He was formerly a principal of Volens Elementary before that school was shuttered years later and also had served at Cluster Springs Elementary.

His neighbor in South Boston, Frank Lee, was one of Bryant’s closest friends, with ties that go way back.

“He had gone to Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. and I was at Bluefield College in West Virginia and we had played football against each other during our college days. He was a running back and a pretty good one, and we were talking about that the week before he died on Thursday.

“He and I had renewed our acquaintance when we both ended up teaching in Halifax County and then by becoming neighbors here.”

Bryant interrupted his education career for several years to work in management for Burlington Industries, before returning to the school system.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara who is hospitalized in Duke University Medical Center, and two sons, Travis and Adrian.

A spokesperson for Jeffress Funeral Home said that the family will be completing funeral arrangements later in the week.

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