Sally Bryant, newspaper co-owner, dies at age 76

By Greg Elias
Observer staff

Sarah “Sally” Bryant, former co-owner of Williston’s newspaper, died Aug. 30 after a long illness. She was 76.

Bryant died at her family home with her son, Peter, at her side. He remembered her as a kindly woman who carefully nurtured her relationships with family and friends while staying true to her beliefs.

“She always did what was right, whether it was convenient or not,” he said. “But she never pushed her views on anybody. She just lived them.”

Bryant was born in Waltham, Mass. on May 18, 1929, the daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah Brackett. She graduated from Walnut Hill School in Natick, Mass. in 1946, Wellesley College in 1950 and Boston University’s secretarial school in 1951. She married her husband, Roger Bryant, later that year.

The couple moved to Williston in 1965. Peter Bryant said his dad “had a dream of living on top of a hill in Williston. And he found it in a cow pasture.” The Bryant home is located on Partridge Hill, off Oak Hill Road.

The couple raised four children. Peter Bryant recalled his mother taking him and his siblings to hockey practice at 3 a.m. “She never, ever, complained about it,” he said.

Bryant later became the business manager for the town’s first newspaper, the Williston Whistle.

The paper had been founded in 1985 as a monthly publication by three residents — Ruth Painter, Elaine Park and Louise Ransom — who were dissatisfied that there was no way to get the word out about municipal matters before Town Meeting Day, according to Ransom. Bryant joined the paper the following year.

“She was good at what she did, she had financial acumen and she applied it to make us stay solvent,” said Painter. “The rest of us were all intensely involved with the news and the community. We needed her to keep us on track.”

A few years later, Bryant and Ransom bought out the paper’s other partners and added staff members.

“She and I got along very well,” said Ransom, who was the newspaper’s editor. “Things she didn’t want to do I did. Things I didn’t want to do she did.”

Bryant and Ransom sold the newspaper in 1994 to its current publishers, Paul and Marianne Apfelbaum. The paper’s name was changed to the Williston Observer in 2003.

"Sally was one of the nicest people I have ever met, said Marianne Apfelbaum. “She always had a smile and a kind word for everyone.

“She made the transition of ownership of the paper run smoothly by the very fact that she was just a sweet and caring person. Paul and I can only imagine the sorrow her family must feel at her passing, and we offer them our deepest sympathies.”

In 1979, Bryant and her husband opened a bed and breakfast called One Point of View that they operated out of the family’s home for 19 years.

Bryant was a member of Williston Federated Church and enjoyed gardening. She and her husband held many longstanding friendships with people in Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, where they owned a second home. She also stayed in touch with her newspaper colleagues, who regularly gathered to share meals until shortly before Bryant’s death.

Bryant had for years suffered from a blood disease called amyloidosis. Peter Bryant said his mother had been given two years to live — six years ago. Her death came less than a month after her husband died on Aug. 1.

Though Bryant struggled with the illness in her final years, she bravely handled the situation, said Ginger Isham, a longtime friend.

“She was straightforward and accepting of her illness,” Isham said. “A lot of people didn’t even know” she was sick.

Bryant is survived by her daughter Pamela Prehmus and her husband, Warren Prehmus of Norcross, Ga.; her son Peter and his wife, Margaret Bryant of Williston; her son Daniel Bryant and his wife, Elizabeth Bryant of East Greenwich, R.I.; and her son Geoffrey Bryant and his wife Kathryn Bryant of Buford, Ga.; 11 grandchildren, seven nieces and one nephew. 

She is also survived by her brother Nathaniel Brackett and his wife, Anne Brackett of Bath, Maine; and her brother James Brackett and his wife Georgia Brackett of Hanover, N.H. 

A joint memorial service for Sarah and Roger Bryant will be held Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m. at Williston Federated Church. The burial service will be private. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Sarah Bryant’s memory may be made to the Amyloid Treatment and Research Program, Boston University, 715 Albany St., Building K-5, Boston, Mass. 02118.