Lorene Dutton Bryant celebrates 100th
By Pamela Holmes
For the Enquirer
The crumbling remains of a house can still be seen on south Danville Road – the home where Lorene Dutton Bryant was born 100 years ago.
The house started out as a log cabin built in 1833 by Bryant’s great–grandfather. The third of five children, she was born to cotton farmer/preacher, father Daniel Dutton, and mother Laura Minor Dutton.
Though Bryant was said to be the fastest cotton picker in the family, her real passion was found in the beauty of flowers. She tended flower beds when she could, once planting the family’s entire front yard with a giant heart of daffodils. In her later years, her backyard became a spectacular rose and flower garden, intertwined with statues and picnic tables.
Besides her family, Bryant’s big dream was to get a college degree and become a teacher. After high school, she worked in the flour mill until she had enough money to attend college for a quarter. She returned to the flour mill when her money was gone, only to return to college when she had once again saved up enough for tuition.
Eventually she was able to get a job in a three-room school, Massey Elementary. She would go on to teach at Danville and Crestline schools. She still reminisces about her school days and her love of “her children.”
After World War II, Bryant became smitten with a tall, handsome young man, John Bryant, from nearby West Point, Ala.; he was just home from serving in Italy and Africa during the war. They began dating and married St. Patrick’s Day 1946.
They would enjoy more than 50 years together.
John was always supportive of Lorene’s dream of college education; he cooked, cleaned, laundered and cared for the children while she drove many miles to night school after teaching during the day. John and the children were by her side when she earned her diploma, becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college.
As she grew older, Lorene became a storyteller to her children and loved ones, telling them about her life: the funny stories as well as the painful ones she believed had made her strong.
Known for her energy, pranks, giggles and positive attitude, young Lorene loved her family, friends – especially best friend Estelle Hunter – and social events.
She enjoyed serving as a Sunday school teacher and youth leader at McKendree United Methodist Church in Massey while her husband served as choir director.
In all things, Lorene has always given credit to God for giving her the strength to face life’s challenges and the grace to rejoice in its victories.