Cover photo for Pearl A. Bryant's Obituary
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1933 Pearl 2024

Pearl A. Bryant

May 11, 1933 — March 14, 2024

Cincinnati

Proverbs 31:

Who can find a virtuous woman, for her worth is far beyond rubies?


On Thursday May 11, 1933 such a woman was born to Madora and James Gaines. As precious a find as the rarest jewel, so they named her Pearl. After a lifetime filled with much love and laughter she was called home to a well deserved rest and reunion as the last of her generation of Gaines on March 14, 2024.


Pearl was born the fifth of six children, following brothers James Jr. and Charles. Her sister, mentor and eventual best friend Loretta was welcomed next. Brothers Stanley and baby William rounded out the clan, with Granny Mary Davis in the mix for added stability.


Life in depression era America in the West End of Cincinnati was daunting even on good days, but faith in God combined with a belief in hard work and sacrifice allowed for a childhood that she always recalled fondly. . .and rightly so! While older brother James started working after school at a young age to help out financially, older sister Loretta assumed domestic duties to help support that aspect of the family life. By the time it came to Pearl all the heavy lifting was done, freeing her up to mostly have fun; which she took full advantage of. A self-described tomboy as a young girl she was more apt to find herself playing with balls than dolls. Early on she developed a love for the written word and surrounded herself with books; she especially loved history because of her innate curiosity about her fellow man; a curiosity which grew to empathy then blossoming into what the Bible calls agape. She also fell in love with music from all over the world.


Sunday church at Bethlehem Baptist was a must, ensuring that no matter how spread out the family got trying to make ends meet during the week, there would always have time to bond around what was important. This is where she met the Bryant family and her eventual husband Edgar.


So it was that on Nov 5, 1954 Pearl Gaines became a Bryant, a bond that lasted the rest of her life. In short order they were blessed with five children: Yvette (Taul) followed by James(deceased), Dennis, Raymond and David. She was a natural mother who balanced emotional nuance with practical requirements of the job in a way that always felt like we were the most important thing to her; though sometimes that message was delivered by way of ‘the rod’.


After the youngest was weened she decided to join the workforce so that they could buy a house and move the family out from the growing civil unrest of the late 60’s. For a time she worked as a nurse’s aid at General Hospital but ultimately took a position as a sorter/clerk at the U.S. Postal Service where she stayed until retirement in 1981 at 63; not long after her last baby had left the nest. It was not however so she could take it easy. She did not want her children to be latchkey kids and her husband’s job was a day shift only so she chose night shifts at the post office to be home when school let out. As a result church attendance went by the wayside for many years. She was not just intent on reconnecting with that part of her life, but making up for lost time.


That year she joined Jerriel Missionary Baptist Church downtown. Before long she was teaching Sunday School and Bible Study. In short order she was also working in their soup kitchen, doing prison ministry and tutoring at a local grade school. Having never lost her love for reading and learning she enrolled in Bible College too. These actions coupled with her playful engaging nature lead to an appointment to the board of Mothers of the Church, who served as mentors for and delegates of the church. Nearly two decades on and her energy started to wane prompting a change to First Baptist of Kennedy Heights; this brought her closer to home and also allowed her to worship with one of her last cousins, Ruth Weaver. And even though she no longer was an active member, the congregants at Jerriel still refer to her as Mother Bryant.



In the summer of 2006 Pearl’s health failed leaving her wheelchair bound. For most people that would’ve lead to a marked decline in their social life. . .for Pearl it turned out just the opposite. Her children built a space that not only accommodated her physical limitations but drew in family, church friends and former coworkers alike into constantly rotating groups for holidays, card parties, cook outs, sleep overs or just to hang out. By now her five children had brought her eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, she was still mothering her heart out and loving every minute. She partied like a rock star for a decade, never losing a grateful and gracious spirit.

Of the virtuous woman Proverbs declared, strength and honor are her clothing, she shall rejoice for the times to come---she opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness.


There were certainly ways our mother came up short to the standards of behavior and discipline outlined in scripture, but this one in particular she nailed.


Pearl was the last of her brood, maybe the last of her kind. She will be sorely missed but always remembered


A Visitation will be held Friday, March 22, 2024 from 11AM until Services at 12 Noon at Hodapp Funeral Home, 6041 Hamilton Avenue, College Hill, 45224.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, March 22, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Hodapp Funeral Homes - College Hill

6041 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45224

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, March 22, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Hodapp Funeral Homes - College Hill

6041 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45224

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Friday, March 22, 2024

1:15 - 2:15 pm (Eastern time)

Vine Street Hill Cemetery

3701 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220

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