|Gale Warning Station 34 Nags Head, oil by Don Bryan|
Don Bryan was one of those people who managed to do a lot of everything and do it all well. He passed away last November but his legacy lives on in a number of different ways.
His name is coming up now because there is a retrospective of his paintings this week at Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery down in Nags Head, and that is how most people know him on the Outer Banks–as a remarkably talented artist.
Having had a chance to get to know him over the past year, I suspect he would be ok with that. He and his wife founded the Don and Catherine Bryan Cultural Series specifically to bring the arts to the Outer Banks and the organization has been very successful at that.
As well known as his artwork is, though, his Outer Banks political career was almost as well remembered–especially in Nags Head where he was the mayor throughout the 1980s.
And here’s the part that so many people do not know about Don Bryan–he had a 30 year career in the military. He started out as a machine gunner on a B17 in WWII, transferred to the Air Force when it formed and learned to fly jets. When he retired in 1972 he was Colonel Don Bryan serving in the Pentagon.
His intelligence was incisive, almost daunting; his ability to weave a tale wonderful and he retained a marvelous sense of humor. On being turned out of office by Nags Head voters in 1991. “I thought I was doing fine and didn’t need a vacation. The voters felt otherwise.”