Donald Robert Bryant ’37, who practiced law until he was 90 years old, died on October 23, 2009, in Dover, New Hampshire, after a period of failing health.
He was born in Gorham, N.H., on February 2, 1916, the son of Dr. Hannibal Hamlin Bryant M’10, and prepared for college at Gorham High School. A member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, he graduated magna cum laude, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1940. He served as a clerk for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1940 to 1942. A World War II veteran, he attained the rank of lieutenant senior grade in the Navy Amphibious Force, with service in the Aleutian Islands, Okinawa and the Central Pacific. After the war, he practiced law with the firm of Laflamme and Nourie in Manchester from 1946 to 1947. In 1947 he joined the Dover firm now known as Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller and Durkin, where he was a senior partner and practiced law until he retired. He specialized in personal injury cases. With service as city solicitor of Dover and an appointment to the Governor’s Committee on Court System Improvement, he received many professional accolades, including recognition as a “legal legend” by the City of Dover when Nov. 7, 1997, was declared “Donald R. Bryant, Esquire Day.” He served as president of many organizations, including the New Hampshire Bar Association, Strafford County Bar Association, Dover Lions Club, Dover United Appeal, Northam Colonists, Cocheco Country Club, Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of New Hampshire, Bowdoin Club of New Hampshire, and the Merrymeeting Lake Association. He served on the board of directors for the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce and the former Strafford National Bank, as a trustee for the Dover Wentworth Home, treasurer of the Dover Soap Box Derby, Master Mason of the Moses Paul Masonic Lodge and vice chairman of the Dover School Board. He was also a member of many organizations, including the Bektash Shriners, Newcomen Society, Woodman Institute and the American Legion. He received many awards for his civic involvement including “Dover Citizen of the Year” in 1999 and the “Community Service Award” from the Margery Sullivan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1996. He also served as moderator, deacon, and church historian for the First Parish Church of Dover, and authored the “The History of the First Parish Church,” published in 2002. He regularly performed pro bono legal work for community and environmental causes, and enjoyed gardening, photography, historical research, bridge, sailing, tennis and golf. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Eleanor Gould Bryant; two daughters, Judy Bryant Lorelli and Nancy A. Bryant ’78; two sons, Dave Bryant and Donald Bryant Jr.; and two granddaughters. He was predeceased by a sister, Peggy Bryant Arey.