81, passed away in his sleep Saturday, March 30, 2013, at his home in Santa Barbara, California. Mr. Bryant was a true gentleman who touched people with his kindness and good heart. Ernie was born in Pasadena on October 23, 1931, to Ernest Albert Bryant, Jr. and Judith Tilt Bryant. Ernie attended Cate Boarding School in Carpinteria, CA. He then went on to Princeton University graduation in 1953 with a Bachelors of Art. Following his college career, he joined the United States Marine Corps at Quantico, Virginia, as a commissioned officer and served in Korea during the Korean War.
He married Josephine Motley Cole in 1956, the mother of his five children, Sarah, Stephen, Matthew, Peter and John. His home during these years was the family ranch, Rancho Santa Ana, in Orange County.
In 1969 he married Gloria (Gay) White and became a stepfather to her daughter, Rebecca Brant. Ernie and Gay moved to Santa Barbara in 1988.
During his 57-year ranching career as a fourth generation rancher in California Ernie was associated with various ranches. Following the sale of the Rancho Santa Ana family ranch, he acquired several ranches in Idaho, including Barbara Farms and the Fairfield Ranch, where he raised cattle and grew organic potatoes. After settling in Santa Barbara, he acquired his present ranch, Las Piletas Ranch, in San Luis Obispo County. Ernie was always involved with horses and enjoyed driving vintage horse drawn carriages. To augment his ranching activities, he joined the El Viaje de Portola in 1964 and the Rancheros Vistadores in 1967, giving him extensive opportunities to trail ride and drive horses in the spirit of early California traditions arising from the Spanish and Mexican rancheros lifestyles.
One of Ernie's lifetime achievements was serving 46 years on the Board of Trustees for the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, CA. Founded in 1927 by his grandmother, Susanna Bixby Bryant, Ernie was dedicated to the Garden's mission his grandmother had established. Another foundation Ernie was truly dedicated to is the Good Hope Medical Foundation, founded in 1925. One of the two founders was Dr. Ernest A. Bryant, Ernie's grandfather. The foundation encourages healthcare in the Los Angeles area by making grants to charitable organizations in the healthcare service. Ernie served on the Foundation's Board since 1974.
He was a longtime member of the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, the California Club in Los Angeles, the Men's Garden Club of Los Angeles, the Sunset Club in Los Angeles, The Valley Club of Montecito, and other groups related directly with ranching operations.
His mother and father preceded Ernie in death. He is survived by his loving wife Gay, his five children and their spouses, Sarah Motley Bryant, Poulsbo, WA; Stephen Bixby Bryant (Leslie), San Clemente, CA; Matthew Elliot Bryant (Florine), Longmont, CO; Peter Alden Bryant (Rosanna) Mercer Island, WA; John Bradford Bryant, Oaxaca, Mexico; his stepdaughter and her spouse, Rebecca Brant (Kenny), Santa Barbara, CA; his grandchildren, Ross, Sara Rose, Nathan, Kyle, Natalie, and Cole; and his sisters Judith Friend of Cambria, CA, and Martha Bonzi of Rockport, ME.
A memorial will be held at the Santa Barbara Zoo on Tuesday, April 30 3:00 - 5:30. Donations in lieu of flowers should be made to a charity of your choice.
Arrangements entrusted to Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.