THORNDIKE — Beatrice Etta Bryant, 89, of Thordike passed away on August 28, 2019 at her home. She was the twelfth of sixteen children born to Rufus A. Gardiner and Laura E. Bolstridge of Thorndike, Maine.
Beatrice graduated from Freedom Academy, in Freedom, Maine in 1949. She married Joseph Bryant in 1950. Bea and Joe raised their eight children together while they started and grew their business, originally named Bryant Steel Works (1960) now known as Bryant Stove Works. Bea was very proud of both her family and company.
Beatrice and Joe Bryant were two of the first ten members of the Antique Stove Association, which was founded in 1983. Beatrice was president for ten years and hosted its annual convention every five years at Bryant Stove Works.
In 1981, Beatrice was named “Most Outstanding Person in the Wood Stove Industry,” by the Wood Heat Alliance. She was then given the opportunity to go to a trade show in New Orleans, with a load of antique stoves to show in the center of the Superdome.
Later, Bea was selected as one of the “10 Outstanding Women of Northern and Eastern Maine” in a contest sponsored by Bangor Daily News.
Her business, Bryant Stove Works, was chosen as one of the winners of the Rand McNally “Best of the Road” Awards for 2003. Bryants is one of the special recommended stops featured in the Rand McNally Road Atlas.
Over the years, the Bryant business has blossomed, renting many stoves to be used in motion pictures such as Amistad, Cold Mountain, and Lincoln.
Beatrice enjoyed many things, including antique buttons. She was a member of the Tri County Button Club, State of Maine Button Club, Florida Manatee Button Club, Florida State Button Society, and the National Button Society.
Bea had a love for antiques and found beauty in the past. She wrote, “So many people have asked me why I do stoves. At 62 why don’t you slow down? I love what I do. I believe it takes a different or a very special kind of love to look at an old decaying object and see it as it once was. And as it could be again if someone cared enough. I am not looking for money, praise of thank you’s but something deeper and more enduring. A chance to rescue the past and offer it to another generation. With the good Lord’s help and for many more years maybe we can do so.”
Beatrice is predeceased by two of her sons, Timothy Bryant and Kenneth Bryant; and husband, Joseph Bryant.
She is survived by her sons, Clayton Bryant, Malcolm Bryant, and Roy Bryant; and her daughters, Katherine Thorpe, Julie Patterson, and Fay Lataille.
She is also survived by many grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
In memory of Beatrice Bryant, In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Buttons For Babes Giving Circle – a charity helping children in critical needs. Care of Martina Eastman, 71 Turmel Road, Jay, Maine 04239
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday September 4, at 1 p.m., at Knox Ridge Baptist Church with an interment to follow at Knox Ridge Cemetery.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.ripostafh.com