Born July 30, 1923 to Edward Currie Bryant and Jewel Mae Pearson Bryant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is survived by six loving and devoted children: Veronica Gatrousis, Delores Bryant, Mary Bryant (Jim Fendrich), Lorena [Lolly] Holk (Bob ), Sterling A. Bryant, Jr. (Leslie) and Matthew Christopher [Chris] Bryant (Paula).
His survivors also include nine grandchildren - Nick Lanier (Monique), Cathy Hazlip (Matt), Christen Perry (Tim), Carla McClinton (Jason), Clay Holk, Jordan Bryant, Julia Bryant, Andrew Bryant and Daniel Bryant; four step grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and 9 step great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Gloria Lee of Petal, MS and brother Ray Bryant of Hattiesburg, MS. He was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Rose Marie, in 2010.
Sterling enlisted in the U. S, Army Air Corp during World War II.
He was injured by enemy fire while on a bombing mission over Germany, and was transferred to a military hospital in San Antonio, Texas, where he met a young nurse and the love of his life, Rose Marie Mock.
Sterling and Rose Marie were married in December 1945 in Fort Worth, Texas. They returned to his home state of Mississippi where Sterling enrolled at Mississippi State College under the GI Bill. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in History and Master's Degree in Education.
Upon graduation in 1950, Mr. Bryant taught at Jefferson Military College in Natchez, Mississippi for several years, rising to Commandant of the school.
To the students he was "Captain Bryant," while Rose Marie was a surrogate mother to the boys and young men, many from foreign countries, who traveled far to attend this prestigious military school.
Sterling began his long career in education with the Leon County School System in 1954. He taught at Cobb Middle School and subsequently served as Principal at Miccosukee School, Assistant Principal at Raa Junior High, and the first principal of Rickard High School.
He went on to county level administration as the Assistant Superintendent for Public Instruction with the school district. In 1972, he went on to work in the Florida Department of Education in Facilities Planning, assisting school districts throughout Florida with their construction planning.
Sterling was a renowned educator who dedicated his life to this work.
He was instrumental in the desegregation of the Leon County Schools in the 1960's. He touched the lives of many students and their families, who continued to recognize him late in life and share stories of the impact he made in their lives.
Sterling continued to serve his country in the Air Force Reserves and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring from the reserves in 1983.
He served on the school board for Blessed Sacrament Catholic School (now Trinity Catholic) for many years. He was one of the founders of the Leon County Teachers' Credit Union in the 1950's (later the North Florida Education Credit Union and the Envision Credit Union) and served many terms as a board member and chairman.
He was a founding member of the Tallahassee Junior Museum (now known as the Tallahassee Museum of Science and Natural History). He was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church for over 50 years where he served in many volunteer roles.
Sterling and Rose Marie bought a farm in Gadsden County, Florida in the 1970's where he and Rose Marie enjoyed spending weekends.
They could both be found herding cattle, picking up pecans, driving the tractor and enjoying the peace and quiet of the farm life. He continued to enjoy visits to the farm until close to the end of his life.
After retiring from his education career, Sterling was an active member of the Leon Retired Educators Association.
He also continued to attend the reunions of his flight group from World War II, meeting the children and grandchildren of men he served with during the Great War. He was acknowledged by Stephen Ambrose for his contributions to his book,The Wild Blue : The Men and Boys Who Flew The B-24s Over Germany.
Sterling was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease at the end of his life. Sterling will be missed by his large family, many friends and former students.
Sterling's family wishes to thank his caregivers, Doris Manning, Denise Dunphy, and Shirley House for their love and dedicated service during his illness.
Memorial contributions may be made to Trinity Catholic School (trinityknights.org
) at 706 E Brevard St, Tallahassee, FL 32308; the Foundation for Leon County Schools (foundationforlcs.com
) at 725 Calhoun Street, Bloxham Building, 2nd Floor, Tallahassee, FL 32301; or a charity of your choice .
A visitation will be held Sunday, March 10, 2013 from 6-8:00pm at Culleys Meadowwood Riggins Road Chapel.
A Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Monday, March 11, 2013 at 11:00am at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church followed by a reception in his honor in the Church Hall. A committal service will be held at Tallahassee Memory Gardens at 2:00pm.