Bryant Taylor Aldridge

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DURHAM- Bryant Taylor Aldridge passed away peacefully August 7, 2013, at the Hillcrest Convalescence Center in Durham, North Carolina.
Bryant, or "B", as he was affectionately called by his grandchildren, was born November 8, 1933 in Kinston, North Carolina. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse Alton Aldridge and Nannie Taylor Aldridge and his brother Jesse Alton Aldridge, Jr.
He attended Grainger High School in Kinston, where he was the only Grainger student to be class president all four years of high school, the only student to win twelve varsity letters, and the only student who was co-captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. He was a high school football All-American and a participant and co-captain in the 1951 Shrine Bowl Game and East-West All Star Game. He graduated from Duke University in 1956, where he was class president his freshman year and earned three varsity letters as a member of the Duke football team. He helped lead Duke to victories in two of his more memorable games over No. 1 Ohio State in 1955 and Nebraska 34-7 in the 1955 Orange Bowl. He was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, the Red Friars Honorary Society, and recognized at graduation for character and leadership with the Robert E. Lee Award. In 2007, he was inducted into the Kinston-Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame.
In 1963 he obtained his Masters of Science Degree in hospital administration from Northwestern University. He also graduated from the Executive Program at UNC Chapel Hill, and did Post Graduate work in hospital administration at Cornell University.
On November 1, 1966, Bryant was chosen to oversee the planning, construction and management of Nash County 's newest facility, Nash General Hospital . As its President for 32 years, he demonstrated a commitment to the Rocky Mount, North Carolina community and the development of a thriving health care complex in Nash County. On June 1, 1998, he retired, leaving behind a legacy of visionary leadership recognized throughout the state and nation. He conceptualized and helped develop Nash General Hospital, the first all private room public hospital, which has now become the industry standard. In 1983, he pioneered the "day hospital" concept, building North Carolina 's first free standing out-patient hospital, Nash Day Hospital . On November 8, 1999, the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center was dedicated in his honor on the Nash Healthcare System campus.
In addition to Bryant's contributions to the healthcare community in Rocky Mount, he was a long time member and served as chairman of several civic groups including the American Red Cross, the Rotary Club, the Board of Planters Bank, charter board member of North Carolina State Bank and Area Health Education Center, Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Hospital Association, past President and Trustee of Carolinas Hospital and Health Services, and past Chairman of Volunteer Hospital America Carolinas-Tennessee. Throughout his time in Rocky Mount, he was an active and loyal member of the First United Methodist Church , serving on the administrative board and trustees.
Bryant has been a long time fan and supporter of Duke University , serving in many leadership capacities, guest lecturer, the Iron Dukes, the Gridiron Society and the James B. Duke Society. In 2002, the offensive backs coach's office located in the Yoh Football Center was named The Bryant T. Aldridge Family Coach's Office.
Further achievements and recognitions include: Tarheel of the Week, in June 1996; Distinguished Service Award, North Carolina Hospital Association 1996; Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International 1997; Distinguished Citizen Award, Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce 1999; Special Achievement Award, North Carolina Area Health Education Center; and Trustee Emeritus, Health Education Foundation of Eastern North Carolina, Inc. Area L AHEC.
Bryant is survived by his wife and the love of his life, Jean Carol Peake Aldridge, two children, Bryant Taylor Aldridge , Jr. and Myra Allison Aldridge Forrester, six grandsons, Bryant Taylor Aldridge , III, Robert David Aldridge, Jesse Joseph Aldridge, Thomas Allen Forrester, III, Bryant Aldridge Forrester, and Jamison Sanders Forrester. He is also survived by his sister, Nancy Aldridge Cherry of Kinston, nephew, Julius Perkins Cherry, Jr., and nieces Louise Cherry Mauck, Millicent Aldridge Thomas, and Sally Ann Aldridge Wood.
The family would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the staff and caregivers at Hillcrest Convelescent Center for their compassionate and professional care of our kind and wonderful husband, father and grandfather over the last several months.
A celebration of Bryant's life will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina at 11:00 AM on Monday August 19, with a reception following in the Fellowship Hall.
Memorials in Bryant's memory may be made to the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Duke University Medical Center, Box 3600, Durham, North Carolina; First United Methodist Church, 100 S. Church Street , Rocky Mount , North Carolina; or Nash Health Care Foundation, 2416 Professional Drive , Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
The Aldridge family is under the care of Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home, Durham. Online condolences may be submitted at www.howertonbryan.com, select obituaries.
Funeral Home
Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home - Durham
1005 West Main Street
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 682-5464
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Published in Rocky Mount Telegram on Aug. 11, 2013
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