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Steven Lavern Bryan
February 1, 1946 ~ December 23, 2022 (age 76) 76 Years Old
Steven L. Bryan, 76 Steven L. Bryan, 76, slipped free of the earthly tether, passing away peacefully on Friday, December 23rd at Logan Health in Kalispell, MT. He was welcomed into the arms of his Lord and Savior, undoubtedly greeted with “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Steve was born to Ralph and Helen Bryan in Vancouver, WA. Steve was a man of quiet strength and humility, strong faith and many accomplishments. Growing up, he was a high school athlete, and later attended Montana State University, studying business and architecture and loving the Montana lifestyle. In college, he met and married Anita Felton. Steve and Anita had two beautiful daughters, Melissa and Stephanie. Melissa is the wonderful mom to treasured grandsons, Beckett, 14, and Chandler, 11. Steve had great pride in Melissa and her boys and took delight in their interests, particularly golf and tennis. Stephanie preceded him in death, passing unexpectedly in 2018. As a young husband and father, Steve served in the U.S. Army/Reserves. He had many parachute jumps and was awarded an Army Medal of Commendation for heroism in the attempted rescue of a fellow soldier. In 1994, Steve married Mary Malone. In her, he found the woman he’d spend nearly the next thirty years with, living great adventures and doing kingdom work. Steve was an out-of-the-box thinker and entrepreneur with a tireless work ethic. He was a man who saw things not for what they were, but for what they could be. During his career, he owned, or was associated with several manufacturers' representative agencies in the Pacific Northwest, and was a Vice President of Sales for the western U.S., for Danaher Corp/Joslyn Clark. It was during this time that Steve and Mary traveled around Montana and Steve fell in love with this place he’d call home for 25+ years all over again. The Bryans purchased an orchard on the East Shore of Flathead Lake and in true Steve Bryan fashion, he threw himself into learning everything he could about cherries. He became a tremendous advocate for modern-day Flathead cherry-growing best practices. Steve learned pruning, irrigation techniques, and brought in a new, faster-producing rootstock to the area. He built cabins, bath and laundry facilities for the seasonal picking force that he cared for and respected so mightily. Most notably, Steve understood that the remoteness of Montana created cherry-packing, transportation and marketing challenges. He introduced Flathead cherries to a Yakima Valley cherry packer, resulting in a partnership that still exists today. His vision and determination regarding the improved growing practices and marketability of Flathead cherries was a turning point in the local cherry industry. But perhaps Steve’s most fruitful period was in the last dozen years of his life, and it was the greatest expression of his faith and obedience. Steve learned that there were not enough foster or adoptive families to care for abused and neglected children in Montana. Finding and equipping families to care for these children became his unrelenting passion. As a result, Steve and Mary co-founded Child Bridge in 2011. Steve was a tireless speaker at churches to share about the need for families to care for hurting kids. He called it, “God’s people caring for God’s children.” From humble beginnings, today, Child Bridge is a statewide organization with a presence in 9 Montana cities and a professional staff of 23. The work of Child Bridge has recruited hundreds of foster families who in turn have cared for thousands of hurting children… nearly a thousand children just last year alone. Steve is survived by his loving wife, Mary; his devoted daughter, Melissa; grandsons Beckett and Chandler; and his dear sisters, Kathleen (Bill) Deasy of Lawrenceville, NJ.; and Peg (Ken) Edgington, of Cincinnati, OH. As a man of faith, Steve wished to share with others “that to live is Christ, to die is gain” and celebrate eternal life promised to all by Christ. A celebration of life will be held at Crossroads Christian Fellowship, Bigfork, on Friday, January 13th at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, Steve requested that memorial gifts be made to Child Bridge, PO Box 310, Bigfork, MT 59911 or www.childbridgemontana.org.