Dr. Willie L. Bryant, a dentist, community organizer and influential human rights activist in the Mid-Hudson Valley for more than 45 years has died. He was 77.
Bryant was a major catalyst – working with New York State Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe and the late state legislator William Darden – for the erection of the Thurgood Marshall Monument in Hillburn, N.Y. in 2002 in recognition of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice’s 1943 successful work to integrate the Hillburn School System (10 years before Marshall argued the landmark federal school desegregation case Brown vs. Board of Education).
Bryant is also credited for being the board member that help build the corporate headquarters of the Rockland Employees Federal Credit Union in Spring Valley, N.Y. in 2002, which now serves more than 7,000 members. He later served as president of the credit union’s board and was its treasurer at the time of his death.
He was a lifelong member of the NAACP, first serving as a college chapter president and vice president at Florida A&M University and later as president of the Ossining, N.Y. branch where he started a sickle-cell anemia screening project for more than 1,200 residents.
Bryant was the longtime director of dental services at Letchworth Village and was active with the Human Rights Commission of Rockland County and the Wesley Hills Zoning Board of Appeals. In 2008, he was inducted into the Rockland County Human Rights/Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
Dr. Bryant was a former Army officer, an Eagle Scout and former Scout Master, a Prince Hall Master Mason, former president of the Rockland County Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and a founding sponsor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
He is survived by his wife, the former Goldie L. Battle, and was the father of three children, Wendell, Willie (deceased) and Amy Diane Bryant.
The wake for Dr. Bryant will be held January 8, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. and funeral services January 9, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.; both at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 80 Franklin Street, in Nyack, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Willie L. Bryant Sr. DDS Endowed Scholarship at Florida A&M University ℅ FAMU Foundation, P.O. Box 6562, Tallahassee, Fl. 32314.
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