Fred Bryant, one of the founders of what has become the modern City of Chilliwack, passed away last Thursday at the age of 90.
Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz said she was saddened to learn of his passing “but he obviously had a long life, and a good life, and he left a legacy for each and everyone that follows in his footsteps.”
“He was a role model to me and to many others,” she said. “He wanted to make the community better.”
Chilliwack MLA John Les said he is one of those who saw Bryant as a role model and “a bit of a mentor.”
“He was a man of many contributions to the community, a very genuine and caring man. I will miss him,” he said.
First elected to the Township of Chilliwack council in the 1976, Bryant helped bring the urban community of Chilliwack together with the rural community of Sardis in 1980 to form the District of Chilliwack, now the City of Chilliwack.
Not without some resistance, former Mayor Clint Hames pointed out during the ceremony in 2001 when Bryant was made the first recipient of the Order of Chilliwack.
In addition to his “outstanding record of service” in agriculture, Hames said, Bryant’s crowning achievement was bringing the two communities together.
“That’s something Fred is an expert at, bringing people together,” Hames said.
Gaetz, who was a councillor at the time, said Bryant’s selection as the first recipient was a natural because he had given so much to the community.
“I don’t think people will soon forget Fred Bryant,” she said. “He lived what he believed, he didn’t compromise his values, his faith was very dear to him.”
Bryant’s accomplishments and awards are literally too numerous to mention, but a complete list can be found on the city’s website.
He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Rachel Bryant (Rennick); sons Gordon (Jennifer) Bryant and Robert (Lyn) Bryant; daughter-in-law Debrah Bryant; grandchildren Michael Bryant (Kim Simpson and daughter Juliana), Gillian Bryant (Neil Yorke), Sydnee Bryant, Courtney (Jason) Tweten; and great grand children Riley and Hannah Tweten.
He was predeceased by his first wife Marjorie Bryant (Stronach) in 1990 and son F. Paul Bryant in 2002.
A memorial service will be held Nov. 26 at the Chilliwack Central Church starting at 2 p.m.
Donations may be made to the Chilliwack Museum, Gideon’s Bible Society or to the BC 4-H Foundation.
Online condolences may be offered at www.woodlawn-mtcheam.ca