ATHENS – James William “Bill” Bryson III, 79, died Sunday, November 15, 2009, at St. Mary’s Hospice House following an extended illness.
Born in Rome, he was the son of the late James “Jim” and Elizabeth Bryson. Growing up in Rome, he attended Darlington School, graduating Cum Laude and president of his senior class. He excelled in academics and football, receiving numerous awards, including “best all around” and was captain of the football team his senior year. After graduation, he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy. While there he was a 3-year letterman, as center for Navy football. In 1952 he was chosen to appear in “Who’s Who in American College and Universities” and “Who’s Who in Sports in America”. Graduation from the naval academy led him to be stationed at the naval air station in Pensacola, Fla. There he met and married his wife, Betty Merritt. He played center for Goshawks football team at the N.A.S., earning a place in the 2nd all navy football team. From Pensacola, he was stationed in San Diego, Calif., aboard the USS Ernest G. Small, serving overseas during the Korean War. Returning to civilian life, he taught in several vocational schools, leading him to join the faculty of the University of Georgia as an instructor and earning his master's degree in vocational education, teaching vocational teachers in Georgia high schools and vocational schools until 1977. His love of football led him to officiating for Georgia high schools, the SEC and the NFL. He appeared with his daughters in the movie “Greased Lightening”. He left the teaching profession, becoming a mail carrier for the postal service until his retirement in 1994. Because of his love of music, he used his rich, bass voice singing with church choirs and the Barbershop Harmony Society.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Betty; children, Linda Bruce (Robert), Russell (Shirley), Becky Mallonee (Ken), Jim (Patricia), Bill Jr. (Nine); nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a sister, Betty Frazier (Bob), Rome.
The family requests contributions be made to St. Mary’s Hospice House, 1660 Jennings Mill Rd., Bogart, GA 30622.
A private family memorial will be held at a later date.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home, East, Athens, is in charge of arrangements.