Mary Marie "Dolly" Bryant, 86, passed away peacefully at home on July 9, 2020 surrounded by family. She joins her husband of 65 years, Elder Samuel A. Bryant in their heavenly home. Mary dedicated her life to children, including her own 3 Daughters, 10 Grandchildren, 12 Great- Grandchildren as well as many family and friends who also affectionately called her Grandma Dolly. She also cared for countless children during her 24-year career as a supervisor at the Imperial County Los Ninos Receiving Home where her good cooking and love of games made her a favorite of the kids. Dolly was born in Booneville Arkansas in 1934 and moved to California as a young child. Along with her parents, James and Bonnie Durham, two sisters and one brother, the Durham family moved west when their farm was lost during the dust bowl and great depression. They spent several years traveling throughout the western states picking fruit and other crops. The Durham family eventually settled in Strathmore CA where they established a dairy farm and Dolly graduated from high school. Dolly and Sam first met when their families worked together harvesting crops. At the suggestion of Sam's mother, she began writing to him while he was in the Navy during the Korean conflict. Through a long-distance romance expressed in many love letters they found an enduring love. While on leave in San Francisco, Sam and Dolly borrowed her dad's pickup truck and they drove to Las Vegas and were married on March 1, 1952. After a few years in Tulare CA, Sam and Dolly moved to Holtville where they were founding members of the Little Valley Primitive Baptist Church and Sam eventually became Pastor. They loved worshiping the Lord in song, harmonizing with their beautiful singing voices. Besides being a fiercely competitive game player and a great cook, including incredible pies, Dolly was a talented seamstress, making clothes for herself and her daughters including bridal gowns and formals for bridesmaids and school dances. Every summer Sam and Dolly would pack up their girls and drive to Washington to visit her brother who owned a cherry orchard. Dolly's brother and sisters and their families would get together to pick cherries and whenever they were together their laughter could be heard far and wide. Dolly loved traveling the country with Sam in their RV and they visited several states and had many grand adventures and 'big fun'. In her last years, Dolly lived with dementia, but she never lost her kindness, beautiful voice and her joy of laughter. She always remembered the words and tunes to her favorite church songs and would sing them often. Dolly loved to laugh and found great delight in making others laugh, usually at someone's expense, but always in fun. She had a kind and gentle spirit, great wit and infectious laugh that filled those around her with joy. Whether known as Mary, Dolly, Grandma Dolly, Aunt Dolly, Sister Dolly, Munequita or Mom her delightful laugh, and her never ceasing good humor will be greatly missed by all. She is survived by her daughters, Jeannette Monroy, Laura Fischer (Bob) and Alison Crabbe (Tom); grandchildren, James Nilson (Julie), Cyndi Read (Kevin), Dr. Nicole Nilson (Glenn Presser), Jason Garewal (Wendy), Jared Garewal (Mariana), Justin Garewal (Rachel), Erika Fischer, Alexandra Fischer, Lauren Crabbe (Michael McCrory) and Sarah Spry (Adam); great-grandchildren Abigail, Samuel, Jared, Jasmine, Henry, Andrew, Reese, Kamryn, Clark, Oisin, Sadie Dolly and Dean; sisters-in-law, Rowena Wall and Lucie Bryant; many nieces and nephews. Due to current restrictions, services will be delayed until August 11th at 9 a.m. at Terrace Park Cemetery in Holtville. Anyone wishing to attend must wear a mask and maintain physical distance of 6 feet or more.
Published in Imperial Valley Press Online from Jul. 26 to Aug. 2, 2020.