Photography

James D. Bryant

April 30, 1950 ~ April 29, 2023 (age 72) 72 Years Old
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Life Story

James Dean Bryant went home to be with the Lord on April 29, 2023. James was born on April 30, 1950 in Osceola, Arkansas to Adlean Cole and James Otis Bryant. He was the third of Adlean’s twelve children. Even as a child, James was a strong and fiercely protective older brother; he took jobs as a paperboy, a shoeshine boy and a grocery clerk to assist his mother with providing for his siblings. From an early age, James prayed for a bright future; he often said that God always fulfilled his heart’s dreams. He wrote that he prayed for a future that would include “going to college, establishing a career, getting married, and even how I would parent my children.” James knew that his vision for the future would always give him comfort and lift him up.

In keeping with his prayers, James pursued an education, attending Grand Rapids Junior College and graduating from Lane College, a historically black college in Jackson, Tennessee. He became a proud Phi Beta Sigma. He majored in sociology as an undergraduate, and eventually obtained a masters’ degree in educational leadership from Central Michigan University. He pursued a career in juvenile justice, rising through the ranks from the entry level position of group worker to ultimately become Kent County’s superintendent of juvenile detention. James took immense pride in his life’s work helping at-risk youth get back on the right track and find their way. He also took a second career with Grand Rapids Public Schools as assistant principal of Southeast Career Pathways, an alternative high school.

James met his future wife, Jeanine, in 1978. James charmed Jeanine with his big bright smile, with his booming voice, and with his powerful vision for the future. They were joined in the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 1980. Together, James and Jeanine breathed life into their mutual vision for the strong Catholic family that they wanted to build. They were blessed with three children: Jennifer, Jessica, and James Franklin. James and Jeanine were able to provide shelter, safety and love for their three children in exactly the way James had dreamed and prayed for as a child. All three of his children speak reverently today about the wisdom that James was able to impart to them and the time, attention, and hard work he devoted to guiding, teaching and loving them.

Years ago, James wrote in his personal journal that his greatest hope was to someday have grandchildren and to be able to play with them. He was blessed to have that hope fulfilled with three grandchildren: James Thomas, Giovanni, and Mattie. He was overjoyed to see his prayers answered and his dream actualized.

In addition to being a family man and a man of deep faith, James was a devoted and enthusiastic community servant. Motivated by his own upbringing, he was called to action to support causes that lift up children and provide them with places to thrive and excel, such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Santa Clause Girls, Kent County Head Start, Ta-Wa-Si Athletic Association, and many others. Even in his very last weeks on earth, James worked with his twin sister Gloria on a project benefiting Camp Blodgett, a West Michigan summer camp for children that afforded him and his siblings the opportunity to experience an outdoor adventure and the magic of Lake Michigan.

James is survived by his wife Jeanine Marbury-Bryant; his daughters Jennifer (Ryan) Bryant Grondzik and Jessica (Majdi) Bryant-Naddari; his son James Franklin Bryant; his twin sister Gloria Bryant; his siblings Mary Louise Bryant, Margaret Little, Janice Bryant, Rosemary Coleman, Alice Cole, Dera Cole, Robert Cole, Sterling Cole, and Katrina Cole, and a host of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Adlean Cole; his father, James Otis Bryant; and his brother, Tommy Bryant.

Family, friends, and anyone else whose life was touched by James are invited to join in a celebration and remembrance of his life on Friday, May 5, 2023. Visitation with James will be held at 10 AM at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Kentwood, Michigan. His funeral Mass will begin at 11 AM. Graveside services will begin at 2:30 PM at Resurrection Cemetery in Wyoming, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to Camp Blodgett would be appreciated.


Services

Visitation
Friday
May 5, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church
1253 - 52nd Street SE
Kentwood, MI 49508

Mass of Christian Burial
Friday
May 5, 2023

11:00 AM
St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church
1253 - 52nd Street SE
Kentwood, MI 49508

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In Loving Memory Of

James Bryant

April 30, 1950-April 29, 2023




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Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Ongoing
Online Event

profile

In Loving Memory Of

James Bryant

April 30, 1950-April 29, 2023




Look inside to read what others have shared


Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   


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