AMerican Veteran 11

Elisha Lewis Bryan, Sr.

August 16, 1931 ~ August 8, 2022 (age 90)


Elisha Lewis Bryan, Sr was born August 16, 1931 to Robert Emmet Bryan and Marjorie Lewis Bryan at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro, NC. After a long and productive life, he peacefully passed away in the presence of his children on August 8, 2022 at Carolina East Medical Center, New Bern, NC.  

His funeral will be held at St Pauls’ Episcopal Church in Beaufort on August 12, 2022, at 11:00 AM.

Lewis grew up in Goldsboro, NC. He was proud to be the 25th Eagle Scout from Troop #1 in Goldsboro at age 15. He was a counselor at Camp Tuscarora for several summers. He spent his 16th summer as a surveyor assistant with his uncle, Col. Meriwether Lewis of Kinston. He was a National Honor Society graduate of Goldsboro High School, in 1949. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, participating in the Air Force ROTC program, graduating in 1953 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. He married his college sweetheart, Tonia Rowe from Burgaw, NC as a Senior college student.

Upon graduation, he served in the US Air Force, at the end of the Korean Conflict, serving two years on active duty and twelve years in the Reserves, retiring as a Captain. Returning to Goldsboro after active duty, he joined the family business, Bryan Oil Company, an Amoco Oil distributorship. He rose to become President of Bryan Oil Company from 1968 until the company was sold in 1977. He was also president of L& R Enterprises, a distributor of Jet Fuel to Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro from 1969-2004. He was active in the N.C. Oil Jobbers Association, rising to serve as President in 1970-71 of the North Carolina Oil Jobbers Association, now the North Carolina Petroleum and Convenience Marketers.

Lewis was an active member in the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) in Goldsboro even serving as President in 1959; and in 1960 he was selected the Goldsboro Jaycees Distinguished Service Award winner. His participation continued statewide by serving as Vice President of the N C Jaycees in 1960-61, when the North Carolina Jaycees won and marched first in the Parade of States at the National convention in 1961. Around this time, he also served on the Board of Trustees for Chowan College.

He was Chairman of the local NC Symphony Board in Goldsboro and then was appointed to the North Carolina Symphony Board of Trustees and served three years.

While living in Goldsboro, Lewis was involved in many endeavors and civic activities. He served on the Vestry of St Frances Episcopal Church for two terms as senior Warden. His Civic involvements included the Goldsboro Chamber of Commerce, The United Way, American Red Cross and the Goldsboro Unit of the Air Force Association. He served two years as Chairman of the Goldsboro Salvation Army Auxiliary, two years as President of The Goldsboro Arts Council, and chairman of the Parks and Recreation Department of Goldsboro. He was elected to two terms (1963-67) on the Goldsboro City Board of Aldermen. He served on the Board of Trustees of Goldsboro Branch of Southern National Bank.

After moving to Beaufort, NC in 1987, he joined St. Paul's Episcopal Church, served on the Vestry in the mid 1990's. He was Lector and Eucharistic Minister for many years, both in Goldsboro at St. Francis Church and again in Beaufort’s St. Paul's Episcopal Church. While living in Beaufort, he also served by appointment of the Bishop to the Board of Trustees of Thompson Episcopal Orphanage.

He was a member of the Beaufort Coterie Club and was on the Finance Committee of the Beaufort Historic Society for nearly 30 years.

Recreationally, he loved cooking delicious meals, baking homemade bread, and playing golf. He enjoyed going to his grandchildren’s games and events. He loved to travel, to cruise, and learn more and more about our nation’s history. He especially loved spending quality time with his family.

Lewis was pre-deceased by his parents, his wife of 56 years, Tonia Rowe Bryan, and his youngest son, John Hunter Bryan. He is survived by his brother, Robert Emmet Bryan, Jr of Fayetteville, his sister, Marjorie Bryan Buckley and husband Walter of North Palm Beach, Florida; a daughter, Tonia Bryan Vary and husband, Dennis of New Bern, NC; son, Elisha Lewis Bryan, Jr. of Wilmington, NC and son, James Carroll Bryan and wife Tracie of Raleigh, NC. He was blessed with a total of 6 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Funeral Services are provided by Noe-Brooks Funeral Home of Morehead City. Memorial Donations may be made to St Paul’s Church or to the Beaufort Historic Society.

“My name was Elisha Lewis Bryan and I approved this obituary.”

Condolences and life tributes may be sent to the family at

Arrangements by Noe-Brooks Funeral Home, Morehead City, NC.

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