Employer left his mark on community

By Kay Arvizu: Guest columnist

On May 28, Allen Ray Bryant left this world. It was our loss and heaven’s gain. I want to tell you about this special man.

When you work with someone for many years, you learn what they are really like, not just the public face. Allen was real — what you saw was what you got.

He taught us to find the best deals for our customers, not wanting anyone to pay more than was necessary. He wanted his office to be welcoming and comfortable, and he truly cared about each of his clients.

He was generous to a fault, many times buying tickets for community dinners and giving them to others. As a member of his staff, I was often the beneficiary, as were other employees at the insurance company.

Every year when the Elks Lodge put on its famous spaghetti dinner, he would take the whole office staff.

Allen was proud of his “girls” — that’s what he called us. Some might think that a chauvinist word, but to us it was a term of endearment. He never forgot us on Valentine’s Day or Secretary’s Day, always putting something on our desks, a little plant or a box of candy.

Every Thanksgiving he gave us a turkey, every Christmas there was a ham for each of us. Many times he furnished turkeys to the Salvation Army, and boxes of food to needy families. (He never told us this, but it’s hard to keep a secret in a small office.)
He was my mentor in many ways. From him I learned about investments, and how to plan for the future. When I confided to him that I was concerned about having nothing for retirement, he started programs for all his employees.

Allen was a big man and had a loud voice, which belied his gentleness and tender heart. He was an avid football and basketball fan, and didn’t miss many games.

He loved his family — his children and grandchildren meant the world to him. I was especially impressed with his attitude toward his wife, Margie. Never once did I hear a critical word; he always spoke of her with such devotion. When he would bring a gift to the office to wrap for her, he refused any help, saying that wrapping it himself was part of the gift.

Allen was a man of courage, truly grateful to the family of his heart donor. He accepted, if not with grace at least with determination, the limitations and restrictions set by his physicians. Temporarily giving up golf may have been his biggest trial!

His transplant was truly successful, giving him 17 extra years to enjoy life. He never forgot to be thankful, never took this blessing for granted. He enjoyed life, living every day to its fullest.

Allen Ray Bryant was truly a great man, and I am so proud to have been one of his girls!

Kay Arvizu is a Clovis resident and frequent contributor to the Opinion page. Contact her at: