Doris Mae Peoples Bryant was born January 22, 1921 in Toledo, Ohio to Charles H. and Mabel Graham Peoples. Her parents placed her on the cradle roll at Third Baptist Church, where she was baptized at age nine. Doris was involved in many youth church activities and later joined the Voices of Unity, the Sanctuary Choir, the Mission Committee, the Twentieth Century Club, the Historical Committee, the Third Baptist Women’s Council, and was appointed to the American Baptist Women’s Board, where she served as Personal Development Chairperson.
Throughout her teen years, Doris was involved in many projects both at Libbey High School, where she graduated in 1939, and within the community. Doris and several high school friends helped integrate Toledo’s Valentine Theater by demanding that blacks also have access to downstairs seating and not be relegated to a separate balcony area. Their move prompted others in Toledo to become involved in the fight to racially integrate the Valentine Theater.
In 1942, Doris married John H. Bryant, Sr., now deceased. From their union, they had three children – Marguerite, Carolyn, and John Jr.
In the children’s early years, Doris worked at Division Market in Toledo. She was active in the PTA at Monroe Elementary School, Robinson Junior High School, Scott High School, and Martin Luther King Elementary School.
Doris was past president of the Women’s Auxilliary of the Toledo chapter of the Postal Alliance; a member of Jack and Jill of America, the La Quincena Club, the Toledo Symphony League, the Thursday Girls, the Working Girls Association, Inc.; served on the Board of Directors of the Linques Neighborhood Center; and worked on charitable drives such as the March of Dimes and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
For many years, Doris distinguished herself at King Elementary School. A parent aide, she later worked her way into the library. She took a course of study in Library Technology at the University of Toledo, and was given wide latitude in operating the school library.
She became known as “The Librarian” by students and teachers. Her storytelling skills are legendary and when she retired, the school placed a plaque bearing her name and years of service on the rocking chair from which she read to the children.
Only a few days before she was hospitalized, Doris Mae Peoples Bryant was honored by the African American Legacy Project in its 2009 Legends Weekend program. Doris was saluted for her work over many decades throughout the Toledo community. Cited for many aspects of her life, the Legacy Project gave special note to her work at King Elementary School.
Doris was a thirty year breast cancer survivor and was involved in work with the American Cancer Society. She loved reading, poetry, crocheting, traveling, tending her plants, storytelling, word puzzles, and listening to classical music. Her mission was to share the wisdom of her years and to encourage others to flourish, even through adversity.
Until the last two months of her life, Doris lived in Toledo, only leaving the city for her hospitalization in Cleveland, Ohio. On December 27, 2009, she passed away surrounded and embraced by her family.
Doris is survived by daughter Marguerite E. Bibb (Leon D. Bibb); daughter Carolyn O. Bryant; son John H. Bryant, Jr. (Kathleen Bryant); sister Delora M. Atkins; grandchildren, Jennifer R. Clawson (William L. Clawson, Jr.), Alison Bibb Carson (Ronald Carson), John H. Bryant, III, and Tiara M. Bryant; great-grandchildren William L. Clawson, III, Alexa L. Clawson, and Rory M. C. Carson, many nephews, nieces, cousins, and lifelong friends.
In addition to her husband John, Doris was preceded in death by her sister Marguerite J. Jacobs, and brother, Charles H. Peoples, Jr.
Memorial donations may be made to Third Baptist Church, 402 Pinewood Avenue, Toledo, OH 43604.
Visitation will be Sunday 4-6p.m.with wake services following 6-8p.m. Dale-Riggs Funeral Home Chapel. Funeral services Monday 11 am Third Baptist Church,
Interment Historic Woodlawn Cemetery. www.dalefh.com