Murfreesboro Funeral Home: Obituaries

Murfreesboro Funeral Home

William Oscar Bryant William Oscar Bryant
(May 3, 1937 - November 26, 2006)

U.S. Veteran William Oscar “Bill” Bryant, age 69, of Murfreesboro, passed away Sunday, November 25, 2006 at his home. A native of Jacksonville, Florida he was a longtime newsman, author and educator.

Mr. Bryant was the son of the late James Oren Bryant and Eunice Pilkinton Bryant Gundersen.

He was a graduate of Troy State (Ala.) University and Auburn University. His master’s thesis at Auburn, "Cahaba Prison and the Sultana Disaster," was published by the University of Alabama Press and widely distributed in bookstores specializing in Civil War materials. It also is used as a textbook in college history courses on the Civil War. Bryant taught history at Auburn. He co-authored other books.

Before attending graduate school, Bryant had a long career in the news business, distinguishing himself covering the early days of the civil rights movement in Nashville, Birmingham and Montgomery for United Press International wire service. His coverage was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in reporting.

Leaving UPI from an assignment in Atlanta, he joined the Alabama Journal newspaper in Montgomery, as political reporter, gaining accolades primarily for his coverage of environmental issues. His series of stories on pollution of Mobile Bay by paper companies resulted in governmental oversight reforms and led to his being named Conservationist of the Year for Alabama.

He later joined the Associated Press in its Atlanta regional office, and helped usher in the age of computerization for the wire service. His final wire service assignment was West Virginia state manager for the AP.

Bryant also worked on newspapers in Florida and South Carolina.

Survivors include a son, Paul William Bryant (Robin), Murfreesboro; a daughter, Kellie B. Smith (Frank), Wiesbaden, Germany; a brother, James Oren Bryant Jr., New Orleans, La.; and five grandchildren, Hailey Nicole and John Paul William Bryant; Samantha Dorothy, Richard Lee and Liam John Smith, Wiesbaden.

Memorial donations can be made to The National Rifle Association, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030; The Civil War Preservation Trust, 1331 H St. NW, Suite 1001, Washington, D.C. 20005; or the National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at Murfreesboro Funeral Home. Visitation with the family will be from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Thursday, Nov 30, at the Murfreesboro Funeral Home.

Those wishing may send condolences online at

Murfreesboro Funeral Home, 145 Innsbrooke Blvd, Murfreesboro, TN. 615-896-2229.