Barbara K. Bryan
Barbara Kay Meyer Bryan, 66, of New Albany, Ind., passed away Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, at home in the company of family after a short but hard-fought battle against metastatic malignant melanoma.
Barbara was born Feb. 26, 1954, in Corydon, Ind., the daughter of Meredith (Merdy) and Dorothy (Dottie) Carmen Meyer.
After graduating from Corydon Central High School, Barbara decided to pursue a career in nursing and paid her own way while earning a nursing degree at Indiana University Southeast in 1977. Barbara started her professional career in Louisville at the old Methodist Hospital in Louisville then moved to St. Anthony Hospital and Baptist East before joining the staff at Floyd Memorial Hospital where she worked for a quarter century before retiring in 2017.
Throughout her career, she was a disciplined, curious professional, ambitious to build her skills and offer the best possible care to her patients. Over the years, her interests would take her into areas like Critical/Coronary Care and post-operative care as a certified perianesthesia nurse, but, no matter what her role, she was always focused on direct patient care. And over the years she developed a reputation for kindness, approachability and compassion that earned her the respect and affection of both patients and colleagues, including the colleagues she mentored and encouraged during her years of service.
From her childhood on a farm in New Middletown, Ind., Barbara was destined to become a caregiver. Family lore has it that one frigid winter night she grew so concerned about the plight of the family’s livestock that she carried a blanket to the barn and placed it on the back of a pony. According to the tale, the pony expressed its appreciation by stomping the blanket to oblivion, much to the consternation of Barbara’s mother.
In parallel with her professional career, Barbara loved family life. She had learned classic country cooking at the side of the mother, and her kitchen repertoire included both country classics and luxurious indulgences that included a legendary beef Stroganoff. As a youngster, Barbara was a bit of homebody, but, like her sister Patty, Barbara also relished getting out of the house for trips with her father, a farmer, businessman and independent trucker who made seasonal trips to South Carolina (for peaches) or Kentucky (for coal) on sometimes treacherous rural and mountain roads.
With her husband Bob, Barbara encouraged her children to explore their own interests and passions and careers. The Bryan household was a free and welcoming and supportive environment, and, if Barbara’s friends and family had to sum up her spirit with a single word, it would be giving.
And for Barbara, giving was largely about Christmas. Keeping Christmas was a year-round act of imagination focused on figuring out ways to delight, surprise and make other people happy. She sometimes expressed regrets that she hadn’t been able to keep her kids from learning the truth about Santa Claus. And she delighted in introducing her three grandchildren to these joys throughout the year.
Barbara was an astute lover of sports and an enthusiastic traveler who enjoyed giving her family opportunities to actively experience the world. She loved vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (she was one of those folks who preferred the ocean to a swimming pool), but she was equally happy exploring restaurants and shops close to home.
Barbara was also a person of deep personal faith who was disciplined in her Bible study and found comfort and inspiration in reading daily devotionals.
Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, Robert (Bob) Bryan; by her parents; and by a sister, Vicki Meyer.
She is survived by her daughter, Chelsea Meyer Bryan of New Albany; son, Russell Stewart Bryan (Lindsey), also of New Albany; three grandchildren, Jack, Harrison and Maxwell; a sister, Patty Emily of Corydon; and two nieces, Heather and Tracy.
A memorial gathering will take place Saturday, Jan. 2, from 12 to 4 p.m. at the Naville & Seabrook Market Street Chapel, 1119 E. Market St, New Albany, IN 47150.
Memorial contributions: Floyd Memorial Foundation, https://floydfoundation.org/.