April 22, 2020
Gary Bryan passed away at his home in Columbia Falls, MT, October 2019.
Gary was born October 9, 1948 in Salt Lake City, Utah with a strong heart and a will to overcome the toughest obstacles. He weighed 2 lbs. 4 ounces and slept in a shoebox near a stove. His parents, Bill and Margaret Bryan moved their family to Chinook, MT in June of 1953.
This was the perfect place for Gary and his siblings to grow up. Gary excelled at all things to do outside. You would find him biking out to Redrock trying to catch shiners, off to the river for snakes and frogs, and with a gunny sack in hand to catch pigeons. He loved to swim, skate, ride horses and play baseball. He mostly loved to go fishing and hunting with his heroes, his dad and Grandpa Doug. Bill shared that Gary was the Best fly fisherman he had ever seen. This brought a tear to Gary’s eye. Gary took up boxing when he was older. He boxed in the state Golden Gloves title match. In high school he bucked bales during the summer and played football in the fall. There he met Joyce Sargent, his one true love. Gary graduated from Chinook HS in 1967 and he promptly married Joyce in Havre, MT.
They moved to Los Angeles, CA where their son Gary Shane Bryan was born. Montana beckoned them back home and they returned to Chinook. They owned the Cozy Corner and the Montana Bar. Gary drove truck for his dad then he moved on to the oil fields. He found himself on an off shore oil rig in Louisiana. Gary later owned businesses in Columbia Falls, MT. He stayed home and took care of his son, Dustin William Bryan. There he bought his piece of heaven right on the river where he taught his boys how to fly fish. He was an artist with a fly rod. Summer would find him at the cabin flipping huckleberry pancakes and fishing ALL day long in his boat. He also taught his niece Jill and his nephew Kelly the art of fly fishing. Gary excelled at cooking, entertaining, hugging and making you laugh.
Gary suffered a setback to his health a few years back and he fought back hard to retain his mobility so he could fish the river with his grandson, Taylor, hunt in Chinook, and spend time with his grand babies. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be. Gary still kept a positive attitude and kept his big ole smile. He loved all of his family, friends, and former classmates. We were blessed to have a brother who always wanted to just hang out. We could count on him to always be there…even if you needed 3 flat tires repaired and a run up to the cabin. His heart was bigger than most anyone you will ever meet and we miss him more than words can say. Keep trying to out fish dad, Gary.
Gary was preceded in death by his wife Joyce Marie Sargent (Norby), his son Gary Shane Bryan, his brother Wayne L Bryan, his parents Billie and Margaret Bryan, his grandparents, and his nephews Greg and Kelly Knudson. He is survived by his son Dustin Bryan of Columbia Falls, his grandchildren Ashley, Celina, Taylor and several great grandchildren all of Columbia Falls, his sister Marsha (Mitch Opsta) of East Helena, his sister Helen (Gary Knudson) of Clinton, MT, his brother Kent (Yolanda) Bryan of Chinook, and his beloved Uncle Kent Lee of Ennis, MT. He has numerous nieces, nephews, cousins plus the members of the Sargent family.
Gary will be laid to rest at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Columbia Falls alongside his wife and son. There will be no services at this time at Dustin’s request.