AMORY – Amory’s foremost historian, Wendell Hobdy Bryan, Sr., passed away at his home on July 22 at the age of 97.
Moving from Hamilton, Alabama to Amory at a young age, he went on to work for his family’s laundry business and also serve as a board member of the Amory Separate Municipal School District and director of urban renewal and later zoning administrator for the City of Amory.
He was instrumental in working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop the Amory Industrial Park during the construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
Hob Bryan, Jr. said his father was the last surviving member of the Amory High School Class of 1939. His high school sweetheart and first wife, Nadine, also graduated with that class.
Being a widower of two wives, the love of Bryan’s life became the Amory Regional Museum.
“Hobdy Bryan’s contribution to the Amory Museum archives is incalculable. Before there was archiving software available, the whole collection had to be organized and tracked by hand, and Mr. Bryan managed our vertical filing cabinets for years.
“He would save any document he found interesting or important to the history of the region, bring it into the museum and file it, then carefully update the whole reference system. Thanks to him, we have hundreds of documents we might not have otherwise. He loved this museum and its mission with a passion, and Amory is so lucky to have had him as our dedicated historian for so many years. He will be terribly missed,” said museum archivist Sarah Crump.
Retired archivist Sue Brown worked with Bryan for 10 years at the museum.
“He trained me to do my job. He was always bringing things to the museum,” she said.
Retired museum staffer Gertrude Sanders worked at Amory City Hall during Bryan’s tenure as zoning administrator and was called into his office periodically to take telephone calls when he wasn’t present.
“He was pleasant to work with and was very thorough about his duties,” she said.
Amory Police Chief Ronnie Bowen said Bryan’s knowledge of Amory’s history was matched only by the late funeral director Guy Pickle.
“They were a wealth of information about our community,” Bowen said.
Bryan regularly visited with an afternoon coffee club through the years at various locations in Amory.
Retired Monroe County District 2 Supervisor Billy Kirkpatrick testified to Bryan’s outstanding longevity.
“He qualified for so many senior citizen’s discounts that he could get his money back,” Kirkpatrick said.