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Marion - Sara Poteat Bryant, 65, of Marion passed away January 12, 2014 at her ancestral home in the Glenwood community. A native of Mitchell County she was a daughter of the late Maxwell Gardin Poteat and Vera Bennett Poteat. She is survived by her beloved husband and best friend of 45 years, Dr. Jennings Franklin Bryant, Jr., and her three adoring children, Jennifer Alison Bryant, Todd Jennings Bryant, and Adrienne Sara Bryant, all of New York City. Other survivors include her sisters-in-laws Amelia Duncan and her husband Reid of Spruce Pine, and Sarah Hobart of Spruce Pine, as well many wonderful and caring aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
After graduating from Harris High School in Spruce Pine, she matriculated at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and, upon marriage, transferred to and graduated from Bellarmine University where she received a B.A. in Music in a collaborative program with the University of Louisville. Then she received teacher certification in Music Education from Appalachian State University. Later she received a M.S. degree in Elementary Education with a Minor in Music Education from Indiana University. Additional graduate education included courses in Music Education and Education Administration at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, courses in Political Science and History at the University of Houston, and certification in Gifted Education and in Educational Administration from the University of Alabama.
A dedicated and talented public school teacher for 38 years, her instructional career spanned two complementary traditions. She was a teacher of General Vocal Music and Choral Music between 1970 and 1987, teaching at the elementary, junior high, or high school levels in several locales, including Louisville, KY, Martinsville, IN, Easthampton, MA, Amherst, MA, Evansville, IN, and Klein, TX. During this period she produced numerous children's musical theater performances with a hundred or more children double-cast in elaborate productions, and she directed award-winning concert choirs that performed throughout the region in which the schools were located. In 1987, upon relocating to Tuscaloosa, AL, she received additional certification in Gifted Education and was an Elementary Gifted Education Teacher in a humanities-based program for Gifted Education in Tuscaloosa, AL for 23 years, integrating her beloved music education into other aspects of critical learning. Regularly honored by children, parents, and administrators as an outstanding teacher, she was also selected to demonstrate "best practices" in teaching at regional and national forums, and she frequently taught model lessons as a Master Teacher in graduate courses at several major universities. Also honored by her peer teachers, she was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international honorary teachers' society, as well as a 25 year member of Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Lambda Theta, and Mu Phi Epsilon, all national or international associations for distinguished educators.
In 2009 she retired from teaching and moved to her ancestral home on her family's Century Farm in Glenwood. Continuing her active and productive life, she served as Executive Director of the Historic Carson House between 2009 and 2011. In this capacity she worked closely with the Carson House Board and the McDowell County School System to develop and utilize the Historic Carson House for educational outreach for children.
She was also active in community affairs, in local and regional history of Western North Carolina, and in family history and genealogy. She served as Registrar of the Greenlee Chapter (McDowell County) of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and as a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the McDowell Historical Society, and the Burke County Historical Society.
Also active involved in her church, she served as a Deacon and Elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and as Chairperson of the Historical Committee, member of the Worship Committee, and member of Women of the Church at the First Presbyterian Church of Marion.
A memorial service will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 15 at the First Presbyterian Church of Marion. The family will receive friends in the Fellowship Hall of First Presbyterian Church immediately following the memorial service. Burial will be in the Greenlee Memorial Cemetery in Spruce Pine at a later date and will be a private service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Marion, 79 Academy Street, Marion, NC 28752 or to Hospice of McDowell, 575 Airport Road, Marion, NC 28752.
Westmoreland Funeral Home is assisting the Bryant family, and the Reverend Jeff Coffey is officiating. An online register is available at www.westmorelandfuneralhome.com.
Westmoreland Funeral Home
220 South Main Street
Marion, NC 28752
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Jan. 13, 2014