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Andrea Pair Bryant

Memorial for Andrea Pair Bryant

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on Jul. 19, 1942
Departed on Mar. 24, 2012 and resided in Austin, TX.
Service: Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012
10:30 am
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

Andrea Pair Bryant was born on July 19, 1942 in Baltimore, Maryland to Dr. James Mansfield Pair and Mamie Lucille Savoy. She attended schools in Maryland, Washington, D. C. and Pennsylvania, graduating from Baltimore's Western High School in 1960. She attended Howard University and Morgan State College (now University) where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, graduating with high honors in 1965. During this time, at Morgan State, she was initiated into the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Andrea continued her Physics studies as a Fulbright Scholar in Karlsruhe, Germany. After completing her year of study in Germany, she did additional work at Columbia University before deciding to try a programming career with IBM in Washington, D. C. During this period, she met Mel Bryant and they were married in October of 1968. After several years as a programmer, she embarked on a path to become an attorney, working as an attorney in training for IBM by day, attending law school by night. She graduated in 1978 with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C. Andrea was then transferred, by IBM, to Austin, TX.

It was not too long before she was getting involved in the Austin community. She was selected for the Leadership Austin program where she learned about various aspects of the Austin community. She began working with groups such as the Austin Area Urban League and the Paramount Theater, participating on their boards of directors. Soon after becoming an attorney, Andrea began her participation in the National Bar Association (NBA) the nation's oldest and largest association of African American lawyers and judges. She was passionate about the organization, becoming a dedicated member and leader within the NBA, serving on the Board of Governors as secretary from 1988-2000 when she was named secretary emerita. Andrea also served on the National Bar Institute's board, chairing its Grants committee.

Andrea gave of her time and talents to many organizations such as her church where she was a Sunday School teacher of first grade students for many years. She has served long enough to see her charges graduate from high school and even college. Additionally she helped serve "Early Bird" tacos to the less fortunate. Her service work with the Town Lake Chapter of the Links, Inc. got her involved with youngsters in the Austin Independent School District (AISD). She had been working as head of the Links' Arts Committee. She also did Pro Bono activities doing Voluntary Legal Services (VLS) divorce cases. She served several times a year on weekly clinics of the Catholic Diocese Law Project.

Andrea's passion for the law and the arts is exhibited by her participation over the years on boards and committees of organizations such as the National Bar Association, Austin Bar Association, American Bar Association, Legal Aid of Central Texas, Austin Black Lawyers Association, State Bar of Texas, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Women's Symphony League, Pro Arts Collective, Zach Theatre and the City of Austin Arts Commission.

Andrea Pair Bryant passed in Austin, TX on Saturday, March 24, 2012. She is survived by her husband Melvin, son and daughter-in-law James and Lori West of New York; son Michael of Austin; grandchildren Chloe, Max and Jordan West; a sister and brother-in-law, Myrtle and John Britton of Baltimore, MD; and a brother, James Pair of Baltimore. Andrea was preceded in death by her father, James and her mother, Mamie. Numerous relatives and friends are left to mourn her passing. She had an impact on the lives of those she touched and she will be sorely missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the National Bar Institute, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, or Pro Arts Collective.


Article from Austin American Statesman by Patrick Beach dated March 28, 2012

To hear retired Municipal Court Judge Harriet Murphy tell it, Andrea Pair Bryant never met a board she didn't like.

The Black Arts Alliance. Zachary Scott Theater. The City of Austin Arts Commission. The Austin Symphony Orchestra. The National Bar Association, a predominantly African American group. Bryant was active in them all. And that's just a start. Bryant, a longtime IBM patent attorney and Austin community activist, died Saturday after a brief illness at St. David's North Austin Medical Center. She was 69.

"She was such an icon in the community," said Murphy, who with Bryant helped form what became the Austin Black Lawyers Association.

Bryant learned from her family the importance of community involvement and service, Murphy and other friends said.

"Her father was a physician, and he had a lot of relatives in Washington and they were lawyers and judges and community leaders," Murphy said.

Austin City Attorney Karen Kennard said she got to know Bryant through the Black Lawyers Association and became friends with her and her family.

"We started a Sunday dinner group," Kennard said. "Andrea, I like to say, was the grand dame of that group. She was a great cook, very smart. Her intellect, her wit, her graciousness and gracefulness are things I will always remember."

"She was a lady of class and grace," said Administrative Judge Lora J. Livingston. "She just embodied all those qualities. She was so poised and wonderful. If Andrea comes to dinner at your house, you have a handwritten note within 24 hours."

Mel Bryant met his future wife when they were both working for IBM in Washington. Asked what drew him to her, Mel Bryant said: "Well, first, her good looks. And she was raising a child on her own, and as we got to know each other, I saw the strength she had in raising her son."

They arrived in Austin in the late 1970s and were married for 43 years.

"When we got to Austin, she really grew," Mel Bryant said. "In D.C., she was working during the day and going to law school at night. When the children were a little older, she was able to get out and pursue her other interests."

Son Michael Bryant, a lawyer in Gov. Rick Perry's office, remembers something else from his mother's law school days: reading with her when he was between 5 and 8 years old.

"Fitting me into her schedule meant reading law books," Michael Bryant said.

In addition to her husband, Andrea Bryant is survived by son and daughter-in-law James and Lori West of New York; son Michael of Austin; three grandchildren; a sister and brother in-law, Myrtle and John Britton of Baltimore, Md.; and a brother, James Pair of Baltimore.

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