George Edward Bryan, best known as Ed, was born In Duluth, MN on January 5, 1934. God held him in His arms as he fell asleep March 2, 2020 at the age of 86, in Escondido, CA.
Ed dedicated his life to be a servant of God and a friend to all. He loved life, he loved people, and he loved to laugh. He was a life-long student who never stopped learning. As an ordained minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and a Licensed Family Therapist his life was totally dedicated to serving God and bringing His love, acceptance, and forgiveness to everyone he met. He believed in justice and the dignity of every individual. He was a man of amazing discernment, compassion, and wisdom. One of his life mottos was “You only keep in life what you give away”, and Ed never stopped giving.
When a young boy Ed’s family moved from Duluth to Portland where he eventually attended Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, WA, graduating in 1952 as the class Chaplain and went on to graduate from Walla Walla College in 1956 as a Theology major.
Ed’s commitment to serving God made early in his life never wavered. To pay for his education he worked in the wheat harvests and as a colporteur selling Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories, The Bible Stories, Great Controversy, Desire of Ages . . . spreading God’s word across the northwest. Ed and his team set records in securing scholarships. As a young pastoral intern, he worked with some of the denominations greatest evangelists as they moved through towns in the Northwest.
Ed felt a deep calling to mission work, and in 1958 he found himself in Uruguay and then in Peru in the South American Union for five years. He quickly became fluent in Spanish. He worked in the cities, traveled the Amazon jungles by boat and plane to meet with the native peoples and teach and preach the love of God. Ed described himself as “un gringo nacido en Minnesota con un corazon latino” (a gringo born in Minnesota with a latin heart). He would have been content to live out his life in South America but for a severe illness that required his return to the US and, except for the intervention of God, would have taken his life. This was not an end, but a new chapter in his life that God was just beginning to write.
After his illness Ed returned to ministry in Portland, helping to grow the Lents SDA Church. But God had a different path in mind. His own illness had opened is eyes to the needs of those enduring illness in its many forms and the suffering it caused. He responded to this call returning to the White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles where he entered a different arm of ministry, becoming a Hospital Chaplain and then becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He also established the church’s first formal Chaplaincy Training Program. From the White Memorial Hospital he moved to Glendale Adventist Medical Center where he became Senior Chaplain. During his tenure there he expanded the role of the hospital chaplain to include Alcohol and Drug Abuse Recovery, Grief Recovery, Eating Disorders, and working with the physicians in the Mental Health units and students who came for training from Fuller Seminary.
He never forgot the untiring care of the nurses and hospital staff and included them in programs to minister to their needs. He worked with community clergy of all faiths to make their ministry to patients and parishioners more effective. He stayed at GAMC for twenty-three years, transitioned to Simi Valley Adventist Hospital for two more years, and the relocated to San Marcos, CA where he served as Pastor and Counselor at North Coast Christian Fellowship of SDA until his “retirement” in 2014 at the age of 80.
Living in San Diego County Ed developed a special interest in the special needs of the armed forces, especially as the condition of so many who had combat related conditions that had resulted in mental illnesses, PTSD, homelessness, and drug abuse and suicide became more widely known. He established a 501c3 corporation – Pacific Christian Services – which offered counseling for military, law enforcement, and others with needs at no cost. The corporation also was able to provide short term assistance to the hungry, homeless and other needs.
Ed never really retired. He never met a stranger. Up to the time of his passing his dedication to serving God, his love for all people of all ages, his understanding and respect for all cultures and persons as children of God, earned him their lifelong respect, trust and affection, and won thousands of hearts for God.
He is survived by his beloved wife Karen who shared his life for almost 26 years, his grandsons Michael Elizondo, Jared and Matthew Bryan, and brother Floyd. His three children, Janet, Norman, and Carolyn preceded him death.
We eagerly await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ when we will be reunited, never to part again.
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