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Obituaries

Jeanne Willis Bryant

Bryant, Jeanne Willis, of Newport News, Virginia, passed this life on Friday, December 25th, 2020 at her family’s home in Estill Springs, surrounded by her children.  Jeanne was born in Morehead City, North Carolina in August of 1932 to the late Fredrick Earl Willis and Virginia Guthrie Willis. and moved to the Hampton/Newport News, Virginia area when she and her two sisters were in Junior High School. She graduated from Hampton High School in the Class of 1950 where she was a member of the cheerleading squad and a devoted “Crabber”.  Jeanne and her husband, Buddy Bryant lived in the Grandview area where they raised their 3 children. Jeanne followed Buddy’s and son, Tom’s interest in sports through fast-pitch softball in Fox Hill, Little League, Pony League, American Legion, and Newport News Shipyard Apprentice School baseball. Her role as “fan in the stands” continued into basketball season starting with Youth leagues followed by teams at Spratley Junior High, and Kecoughtan High School. Jeanne worked for and retired from the State of Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles in 1987. After retirement, she and Buddy moved to Tennessee to join their daughter, Diane and assist with the newly expanded Olympia Health and Racquet Center in Tullahoma. Their son, Tom managed the fitness center, Buddy became the Racquet Sports coordinator and Jeanne learned to play tennis at the age of 55. She and Buddy returned to their home in Hampton Virginia in 1994 where they continued their tennis involvement as a part of several local tennis groups at the Hampton Tennis Center and Newport News Centre Court. Jeanne continued to play women’s doubles until fall of 2011 when she retired her tennis racquet at the age of 79. Her final 5 years she resided at the Arbors in Port Warwick where her daughter, Barbara was a frequent visitor. Jeanne was an avid Bridge and Dominoes player, loyal UVA sports supporter, and matriarch of a network of her extended family and friends. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Buddy Bryant; one sister, Norma Armstrong; and one son-in-law, Arthur Wilson. Jeanne is survived by one son, Tom Bryant (Doris) of Mechanicsville, Virginia; and two daughters, Barbara Bryant of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Diane Bryant (Ron Mayes) of Estill Springs; one sister, Mary Mosby (Bob) of Virginia Beach, Virginia; three grandchildren, Kaitlin Botts (Chris), Chase Bryant and Rachel Bryant; and one great-granddaughter, Mia Botts. A memorial service is planned for late spring at R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home in Hampton, Virginia.
Kilgore Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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