Four Lives Well Led at Wake Forest Remembering


                These last two months at Wake Forest has been a time in winter.  Four people, one a former wife and mother, another a long time Registrar, still  another a great lady in her own right, a former prisoner of war in a Japanese camp during World War II, and then most recently, a beloved and renowned teacher and writer of Christian Ethics at Wake Forest, responsible in part for the sit-in demonstrations for integration in Winston-Salem in 1960 and the eventual integration of Wake Forest University a few years thereafter, all died within thirty days of each other.


                They all came from diverse backgrounds.  But they all knew each other, and they were all friends.  The first to go was my own mother, former wife of the College’s Chaplain and local campus pastor in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, on August 31, after living a full, productive and happy life in and around Wake Forest, both in the town by the same name and then, after 1956 and the college’s move to Winston-Salem, near what many of us still call the new campus.  Mary Dyer, wife of longtime Dean of Students, and a great friend of so many students, died the same day.  Margaret Perry, the wife of Dr. Percival Perry, the longtime Professor of History and Dean of the Summer School, and then Registrar and helpmate to so many students, followed on September 4.  And then, in late September, Dr. MacLeod Bryan, better known as Mac Bryan, teacher of religion and ethics and writer of many books on those subjects, passed gently away. 


                The only one of these four to be written about in a newspaper editorial was Mac Bryan who was described by the Winston-Salem Journal as someone “with a mustache as white as his hair…a soft-spoken freedom fighter”.   He once helped to engineer the “first sit-in victory in North Carolina”.  He was a fierce fighter for equal justice and kindness for everyone. He was quite simply a great man.


                But the other three, in their own quiet ways, were also great. They didn’t make the news, but they affected a lot of people.  Their attributes were kindness, humility, understanding, patience and much courage.  Not a bad epitaph. 




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