Mrs. Myrtle Bryson, 89, of Woodbury passed away with family at her side on Saturday, July 8, 2023. She was born on February 10, 1934 in Woodbury, Tennessee. She was preceded by her husband, James Edward "Ed" Bryson; parents, John E. Alexander and Gracie Christine (Odom) Alexander; and brother, Harold Alexander.
She is survived by her children, Wallace (Barbara) Bryson of Lebanon, Keith (Carolyn) Bryson of La Vergne, Mike (Patricia) Bryson of Woodbury, and Debbie Mitchell of Smyrna; 11 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; siblings, David Alexander of Lakeland, Florida and Margie (Bobby) Dawsey of Glasgow, Kentucky; sister-in-law, Jean Alexander of Lakeland, Florida; and special friend and hairdresser, Linda Moore.
While Valentine's Day got popular in the mid-1800s, the essence of love was born 4 days prior to Valentine's Day in 1934. Myrtle Sue Alexander may have been the finest woman to ever walk the earth, and her God-given talents revolved around her attributes to be humble, kind, giving, loving, and caring. She lived her life as a modern-day example of Proverbs 31, and there was no need to guess why she quickly became special to everyone she met.
Myrtle was not someone you had to learn to love. She exuded so much of it that you couldn't help but love her after the first encounter. Ed recognized this gem and quickly snatched her up to safeguard the treasure he had found. Myrtle graduate one day, and they were married the next. The vows they made at the age of 19 to always be together meant the world to her, but if you knew Ed, you knew Myrtle would need a break from his presence from time to time.
Saying Ed loved to talk was an understatement. Ed lived to talk, and Myrtle would occasionally get flustered and need to tune out the sole professor at the Ed Bryson School of Family and Finances. She may have never gone to college, but Myrtle should have been given an honorary Masters and Ph.D. Between her and Ed, they could definitely make a dollar stretch, so obviously, she didn't tune out her professor too often.
Working at the Stock Barn and then Eller's Department store for several years set in motion an uncanny work ethic in Myrtle. She never let her hands sit idle, and her daydreaming sessions during the class lectures often led her to crotchet, needlepoint, sew, work with plastics, or cook. Handmade and homemade were the only way things were getting done around the Bryson household.
When they needed clothes? Myrtle would buy the fabric and make them all matching outfits, even Ed. Holiday decorations? Myrtle worked with plastics to make it happen. Even with all of her craftiness, the area where Myrtle really shined through was her cooking. She definitely left a lasting impression when you sat down at the Bryson table to eat.
It didn't matter which side of the family was getting together, Myrtle was cooking for all of them. Her chocolate pie and fudge alone were good enough to make her famous to taste buds of all kinds. The meal that Myrtle stressed the most though was breakfast. The Bryson family always had a full cooked breakfast no matter where they were going that morning, whether it was hunting or heading to work. It set the tone for the day and started them all off on the right foot.
The fact that the kids never went hungry was a testament to Ed and Myrtle's commitment to one another. Ed was a joyful father and provider, and Myrtle was a faithful wife and supporter. Their extravagant breakfast may have been followed by a lunch of four-stack crackers with peanut butter and tea for lunch, but the kids never knew the feeling of anything but being richly blessed. Well, except for maybe the belt when they needed some correction.
Ed and Myrtle were together and on the same page when it came to discipline. They were a unified force and made sure they kept the kids straight and raised them right. They could walk through the store without the kids touching a single thing, but the reason the discipline worked is because it was done out of love. Ed and Myrtle showed that love in many different ways.
For Myrtle, she gave hugs on arrival and before departure. Each of her children were going to be loved on and encouraged by word and action. Another way she shared her love was by an action that didn't go unnoticed - Myrtle was always last to get a plate. She served and supported her family in so many ways that could easily go unnoticed. In this life, it can be easy to take things for granted but not for Myrtle. She was aware and conscious of all of the blessings around her, but there were a few things she didn't like...
To name a few, Debbie's frogs and the boys' chicken snakes, rattlesnakes, garden snakes, and well, you probably get the point. Myrtle had to love animals because of how many the kids ended up letting loose in the house. In their defense though, she did try to convince them to raise a "baby eagle" that she caught after it hit a power line and fell. She quickly changed her mind after Michael saw the red head pop out from under the tub and informed her it was a buzzard. That will be one story she never lives down.
The kids enjoyed carrying on and picking at her about these little mistakes and mishaps. They were rare, so they had to hold on to what they could get. When there wasn't one to pick at her about, the kids would play pranks on Myrtle to keep life interesting. You would think they'd be a little more careful since she had the strength to milk the cows and wring the chickens' necks, but that didn't deter them.
Ed would occasionally step in and remind them that they couldn't make Myrtle do anything that she didn't want to do. After a while though, the kids realized that might be because Ed was frequently making her do what she didn't want to do. He was adventurous, and Myrtle went from never going anywhere as a young girl to riding on the back of a motorcycle to Florida, taking a cruise to the Bahamas, and several other adventures. Each one ended with Ed saying, "I think you enjoyed it." Whether she did or not, Myrtle would never say because what she always enjoyed was being together with family.
In her later years, Myrtle found solace and comfort birdwatching. She must have dipped her finger in the water because she had quite the gathering of hummingbirds around her feeders. Or it may have just been that kindred spirits are attracted to one another. Hummingbirds are supposed to symbolize intelligence, beauty, love, and devotion, and Myrtle lived a life worthy of the praise, "Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all (Proverbs 31:29)."
Though the family lays Myrtle to rest with mournful hearts, they also know there is great reason to rejoice for a life well lived, a heart well loved, and a spirit well shared. Myrtle can now add to her 68 years, 10 months, and 14 days with Ed on this earth with an eternity in Heaven together.
Visitation will be held at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 from 10 am - 1 pm. Funeral services will follow directly after on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 at 1 pm in the Gentry-Smith Funeral Home chapel. Larry Thomas will officiate. Interment will be in Odom Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Wallace Bryson, Keith Bryson, Mike Bryson, Debbie Mitchell, Stanton Bryson, Cody Bryson, and Jake Bryson.
The family would prefer to not receive flowers. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the upkeep of Odom Cemetery.
Share memories and condolences at www.gentrysmithfuneralhome.com Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337 Because every life has a story