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Woman of Wilson: Pat Bryant

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She's had a big impact on Wilson County's educational, political and social communities, but Pat Bryant remains a humble woman.

When told that she was nominated to be a Woman of Wilson in The Wilson Post, Bryant said that she has enjoyed her life, but insisted that no one would probably want to read about it. Readers, you can be the judge of that.

Bryant's journey to Wilson County started in the 1950s when she wed Joe F. Bryant. She was from the West Tennessee town of Dyersburg and he was from nearby Newbern - which she compared in proximity to Lebanon to Watertown. "We always knew each other growing up," she said.

In the early years of their marriage Joe was in medical school, and after graduation he served in the military. His wife and daughter, Laura, went with him. The surgeon was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Port Lyautey, Morocco, when their second child, Frank, was born.

"The old McFarland Hospital needed a surgeon and that is why we came here," Bryant said. They stayed and planted roots for their family - and Dr. Joe's practice.

Bryant fell in love with one local institution in particular - Cumberland University. After her children reached their later teen years, Bryant went back to school, obtaining her Associate's Degree from Cumberland University, which at that time was only a two-year school, before graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Geography.

"Laura was in college when I was," she remembered.

Bryant also served on the Wilson County Board of Education for 20 years and was the first female elected to the board. "They had a lady who filled out her husband's term, but I was elected," she said.

Although her grandchildren are now grown and her husband has passed away, Bryant still stays busy with two of her other passions - gardening and politics.

At home, Bryant enjoys working in her garden. "Daisies are pretty, but I like all kinds of flowers. I will even dig up weeds I find on the side of the road that bloom," she said.

However, roses are the flower that remind her the most of Dr. Bryant - she maintains four rose bushes.

"He always sent me red roses every occasion. They were his favorite flower."

She is active in the Wilson County Democratic Women. "All my life I've been a Democrat, and I've always wanted to be involved," she said. "It is just part of my life. You grow up, you pay taxes - you want to know where they go. If you don't like it you can voice your opinion.

"That is the great thing about America."

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at sgarrett@wilsonpost.com.

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