Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local News

September 7, 2013

GSW police chief dies unexpectedly

AMERICUS — The Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) community was still mourning the untimely death of its veteran police chief, Oris Bryant, as funeral arrangements were being completed. GSW President Kendall Blanchard ordered the U.S. flag in front of the rotunda to be lowered to half-staff in respect for Bryant.

Bryant died unexpectedly of a heart attack Wednesday night after suffering a heart attack at his home in Leesburg, according to Col. Eric Bryant (no relation), chief deputy of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

GSW’s Blanchard issued the following statement Thursday morning.

"It was with both shock and sorrow that we learned early this morning of the passing of our friend and colleague, Chief Oris Bryant. The Chief, as he was known by all who worked with him, served Georgia Southwestern for over 18 years. During that time he was vigilant in his efforts to keep the campus safe for our students and all of us who work here. In addition, he was actively involved in the extra-curricular lives of our students. He was an advisor to the Student Government Association and served in several capacities to support other campus organizations. The Chief is also remembered for his skills as a barbecue chef. Rarely was there a student event on campus that did not find the Chief standing in front of his famous grill with a large spatula in his hand, tossing burgers, grilling chicken, or roasting hot dogs. He was a dedicated citizen of the GSW community and much beloved by students. Without a doubt, his death has left a large hole in the life of the campus. He will be sorely missed by all of us.

"For those members of the campus community wanting professional support, counseling is available in the Student Success Center Conference rooms until noon today. Subsequently, help will be available in the Counseling Services office.

"We have lowered the campus flags in memory and honor of Chief Bryant. At this point, we have few details regarding visitation or funeral arrangements. A memorial service to be held here on the campus is being planned. We will pass along the details on these events as they become available."

Funeral arrangements were announced Saturday by Hatcher-Peoples Funeral Home in Thomasville. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 901 South Westover Blvd., Albany, with the Rev. Daniel B. Simmons of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Albany, officiating. Interment will follow at Peaceful Rest Cemetery in Thomasville. Active pallbearers will be Eric Bryant, Sammy Stone, Joe Monts, Otis Abrams, Eddie Jackson, Ben Matth, Eric Finch, Charlie Whitehead, Sam Miller and Robert Ross.

“Chief Bryant” was a native of Thomasville. He graduated from Fort Valley State College in 1975, with a bachelor’s of arts degree in business administration. He was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and Mt. Zion Baptist Church. He married the former Thedis Washington of Leesburg in 2002. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son and daughter and two grandchildren, among other relatives. See his full obituary on page 2A.


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