Robert Steven “Steve” Friend
Steve Friend, age 65, a resident of the Fort Walton Beach area since 1969, went home to be with Jesus and to be reunited with his loving family on December 30, 2020, unexpectedly.
Steve was born in Jackson, Michigan on October 6, 1955. He was the loving and proud son of Simon Wayne and Lottie Neal Bryant. Being an Air Force Brat, Steve lived in several different states. He was a 1974 graduate of Niceville High School, a 1976 graduate of the then Okaloosa-Walton Community College and attended the University of West Florida.
While a Senior in High School, Steve began his almost 41 year career with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. His first Position was a custodian and he went on to hold many other retail and services management positions at Eglin, Hurlburt and Tyndall Air Force Bases, and several earned him many awards and much recognition. Steve loved serving the military community.
Steve’s great enjoyment in life was his family. Though he had no children of his own, he was delighted to be involved in the lives of his nephews and nieces and many times was referred to as “Papa Uncle Steve”. He was a mentor and friend to many young people. His love for people and his desire to give and help others brought smiles to his face. In a poem written by his sister Phyllis, she wrote “Never wanting anything and in return, he moves forward”.
Steve was of the Christian faith and had a strong devotion to his Lord and Savior. He was baptized at River Drive Christian Church, Irvine, Kentucky along with his sister and brother in 1968. We must all rejoice as Steve is now with his parents and siblings that he has waited for so long to see again. He will be missed here on earth but now he smiles in Heaven.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Simon W. and Lottie Neal Bryant; sister, Phyllis Ann Herrin; brother, Mitchell “Wayne” Bryant; grandparents, Mitchell and Nellie Muncie Neal.
He is survived by his nephews and nieces: Grant Meyer (Amy), Hope Weatherford (Akarin), Jason Meyer (Amanda), Charles Bryant (Katrina), Anna Lara (Alex). Great Nephews and Nieces: Hayden Meyer (Meghan), Harley Meyer, Tristan Meyer, Harrison Meyer, Pierce Meyer, Corbin Weatherford, Parker Bryant, Charley Bryant, Scarlet Lara, Jaxon Lara. Loving Aunts and Uncle: Geraldine Campbell (Dennis), Pearl Sparks (Luther), Helen Merrell, Patty Whitt (Carl), Marvin Neal (Elva). Special God Children: Jeremiah and Isiah Thornton. The extended family of the late Seth Robert Friend, many cousins and dear close friends.
Visitation will be at McLaughlin Mortuary Chapel on Wednesday, January 6, 2020 from 9:00 to 11:00. As per Steve’s request a graveside service will follow at Beal Memorial Cemetery, Fort Walton Beach, Florida at 11:30. All family and friends are welcome to attend.
Steve requested that those wanting to remember him to do so by displaying a small act of love to someone you know such as calling or visiting a shut in, taking a little plant to a nursing home, paying it forward or just hugging someone.
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