William M. “Bill” Bryan
VIROQUA — William M. (Bill) Bryan, 82, of Lindström, MN died peacefully Friday, June 7, 2019, at Bethel Home in Viroqua, WI after a long struggle with Lewy body dementia, and colon cancer. In the end, his neurological condition became his greatest blessing, taking him to places, times, and people that he cared most about.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara Bryan. He is survived by his sister Carol Wilson of Wyoming, MN, his brother Dave Bryan of Fair Oaks, CA, his first wife Joann Bryan of Carmichael, CA, his second wife Pat Bryan of North Fort Myers, FL, his four children, three step-children, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Bill was born May 15, 1937, to William and Vera (Milroy) Bryan in Minneapolis. He married Joann Pagel in 1957 and helped raise raised four children, William M. Bryan, Jr. of Prosser, WA., Jeff C. Bryan of La Crosse, WI, Chuck Bryan of Aiken, SC, and Juli Bryan of Placerville, CA. Through his marriage to Joann, he also had seven grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. After his divorce from Joann, he married Patricia McWilliams in 1982 and helped raise her children and grandchildren.
Bill earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1960, and initially worked in the aerospace industry near Sacramento, CA through most of the 1960s. After leading a grassroots campaign to save a parcel of land from development, he became involved in local politics. During the last 35 years of his life he focused on real estate investment, but also ran a couple video stores and, briefly, a restaurant.
He was an affable, social, and pleasant person to be around, with a very persuasive personality, but he was also very independently minded, and chafed when he had to follow official procedures, or when things didn’t go his way. This sometimes got him into hot water, but his goals were almost always to make things better for those he cared about. He was an active and imaginative person, who sometimes had trouble finishing his work because there were too many new and interesting projects to get started.
A remembrance ceremony will be held later this summer at the family lake cabin in Forest Lake, MN. Donations in his memory may be made to Bethany Lutheran Homes in La Crosse, the Bland Bekkedal Center for Hospice Care in Viroqua, or Bethel Home & Services in Viroqua.