Robert Cavenaugh Bryan died on August 28, 2015 at the age of 91. A lifelong resident of Dunn, he practiced law there from 1955 until his retirement in December 1992. He and his wife, Janet, moved to Charlotte in 2008 to be near their children.
Bob was born in Wilson, NC, on May 27, 1924, to Anna Cavenaugh and Joseph Shepard Bryan. After graduation from Dunn High School in 1941, he attended Campbell College, North Carolina State University and the University of Virginia, prior to entering the United Stated Naval Academy in 1944. Upon graduation from the academy in 1947, he was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy. During his school and Navy years, Bob was an avid baseball player and enthusiast, earning a letter in baseball at four different colleges. He also coached and managed a baseball team while in the Navy.
Bob resigned from the Navy in 1953 to enter the University of North Carolina School of Law, graduating in 1955. He then joined his father’s practice, leading the firm – which at his retirement was Bryan, Jones, Johnson and Snow – for the next 37 years. He served on the North Carolina State Bar’s Disciplinary Hearing Commission for six years, and was active in many other areas of the state bar. He was also a strong supporter of the establishment of a law school at Campbell University and, with his brother, established the school’s first scholarship in honor of his parents. As a result of his work, the school’s first law fraternity chapter was named in his honor.
Bob was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Dunn from 1955 until his move to Charlotte. He served the church as a deacon and elder, and was a Sunday School teacher and choir member for 40 years. He also served as a lay minister to area churches for many years, and was instrumental in the founding of the Presbyterian Church Endowment Fund. His Christian faith was at the center of his life.
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Bob was an organizing member and served on the board of directors of First Federal Bank, headquartered in Dunn, for 53 years. He also was chairman of the bank’s Directorate Loan committee for many years.
After his retirement from law in 1992, Mr. Bryan chaired the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Civil War Tourism Commission for three years. An avid historian, he helped organize the Averasboro Battlefield Commission and remained active in its work until his death.
Bob was married for 67 years to the love of his life, Janet McNeill Kelly of Erwin. Throughout his life, his consuming passion was his family – as he often said, “my reason for being.” Memories of “Daddy Bob” form the foundation of his children’s and grandchildren’s lives – family songs, watching Carolina basketball games, playing gin rummy “for the championship of the world,” going on fishing trips, and enjoying incredible sunsets at Long Beach, NC. His family will undoubtedly know and quote “Daddy Bob sayings” for many generations to come. His love of family led Bob and his wife to publish four books of family genealogy
In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by his wife. He is survived by his three children: Sterling Bryan Taylor and husband Bill of Washington, NC; Susan Bryan Daniel and husband John of Charlotte; and Robert Kedar Bryan and wife Flo of Charlotte.
He is also survived by nine grandchildren: William Frederick Taylor III and wife Ashley of Raleigh; Janet Sterling Taylor of Auburn, AL; Anne Spottswood Taylor Hudson and husband Ben of New Bern; Shepard Daniel O’Connell and husband Brendon of Chapel Hill; Louisa Bowen Daniel of Charlotte; Robert Cavenaugh Daniel of Denver, CO: Florence Carnét Bryan of New Orleans; Robert Kedar Bryan IV of New York City; and Mary McAllister Bryan of Charlotte. Bob also leaves three great-grandchildren, Elizabeth Hunt Taylor, William Wyatt Taylor and Lucy McNeil Hudson; a brother, Joseph Shepard Bryan, Jr. and his wife Mary Ann of Jacksonville, FL; his brother-in-law, Robert Harris Kelly, of Erwin; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.
The family extends its sincerest and heartfelt gratitude to Bob’s loving and compassionate caregivers at the Stewart Health Center of the Cypress in Charlotte.
A memorial service to celebrate Bob’s life will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, August 31, 2015 at the First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte. A reception will follow the service in the Fellowship Hall. Burial will be in Dunn, NC, on Wednesday, September 2, at 11 a.m.; friends and family are welcome.
Memorials may be made to the Endowment Fund of First Presbyterian Church of Dunn, or to the Averasboro Battlefield Commission in Dunn, NC.
Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral Director Licensee. 704-641-7606.