Col. Melvin H. Bryant (Ret.) made his final flight to be with his Lord and Savior on June 2, 2021. “Mel” was born and raised in Hiawatha, KS in 1924. With a desire to serve his country he entered the Army Air Corp in 1942 at the young age of 17 where he was selected for flight school. He served his country as a Fighter Pilot through WWII where he was shot down in early 1945, was declared missing in action and was a prisoner of war until liberation in 1945. He also served in the Korean War as well as 3 tours in the Vietnam War. After 33 years of service he ended his military career in 1975 as the Base Commander at Hurlburt Field AFB in Fort Walton Beach FL.
During his command at Hurlburt Field, Mel met and married the love of his life, Glenda Peele. He not only opened his heart to Glenda, but became a loving and supportive father to her 4 teenage daughters. He also started a 2nd career and spent an additional 30 years with Okaloosa County, supporting the Clerk of Courts.
During his career and even after retiring at the age of 84, Mel was active in several veteran and non-profit organizations within the community. He was President of the Air Commando’s Association, a lifetime member of the Elks Club, the VFW and the Daedalians.
Mel was a man of faith. Staying active in his church and community blessed Mel with a long and fulfilled life. Mel is survived by his wife Glenda, his four daughters, Pam Larsen (Terry Capers), Beth Wilson (Willie), Rhonda Waldron (Dean Sullivan) and Rita Jo Hawthorn, as well as his 13 Grandchildren and 10 Great Grandchildren.
Col. Melvin H. Bryant (RET) will be laid to rest on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Services will be held at McLaughlin Mortuary at 17 Chestnut Avenue in Fort Walton Beach. Visitation begins at 10:30 am with a Memorial Service starting at 11:00 am followed by a graveside service at Beal Memorial at 12:30.
Expressions of love and sympathy can be viewed or submitted online at www.mclaughlinmortuary.com.
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