THS dedicates field during emotional night

Published 9:57 am Friday, February 23, 2018

Russ and Wendy Bryan are respected throughout the Thorsby community, and that respect was on full display during a dedication of the school’s baseball field on Feb. 20.

The dedication was a surprise to Bryan, who thought that he was only on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Instead, he wound up being met by his family in the infield and was presented with a plaque by Thorsby athletic director Daryl Davis.

It was an emotional night for everyone involved, but especially for Bryan and his family, who were not able to enjoy the moment with his wife, Wendy, who lost her battle with cancer in 2015.

“My first thought was of my wife, Wendy,” Bryan said. “The first time we ever met was on this baseball field when we were in school.”

According to Bryan, his wife loved not only to watch her children play baseball, but every student that had been a part of the program over the years.

“Wendy’s smiling right now,” said Bryan, as he looked up to the sky. “God bless her.”

Russ Bryan hugs family members during a surprise dedication to name the Thorsby baseball field in honor of himself and his late wife, Wendy Bryan on Feb. 20. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

Despite not being on the field, Wendy was in the thoughts of everyone watching in the stands from Thorsby to Jemison fans alike.

The Bryans both played a major role in the school as members of its faculty for well over a decade.

The baseball program always shared a special connection between both of them from their early days as Thorsby students when Bryan was a member of the baseball team before graduating in 1982.

“It will touch my heart every time that I come back and see our names [along with the field], and even more importantly when I see her name,” Bryan said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more fitting for her memory.”

In many ways, Thorsby baseball is alive and successful today because of the actions taken by Bryan.

“When I was in ninth grade [at Thorsby] we didn’t have a baseball coach and were about to fold up the baseball program,” Thorsby principal Corey Clements said. “Mr. Bryan volunteered and coached us while he was still in college at Montevallo. They’re special people, and nobody loves Thorsby more than them.”