On Sunday, June 14th, our council lost one of its charter members as Brother Knight Andy Bryce passed to his eternal reward. He was 90 years young. As our council noted in a resolution passed the week before, “Council 9597 is proud to recognize Brother Knight Andy Bryce for a long history of efforts to move our council forward. 3rd Degree Knight Andy Bryce has provided the council invaluable service over the history of the council, being one of the charter members of our council, as well as a member of the Knights since 1958. His brothers of Council 9597 wish to ensure that he knows of our high regard, respect, and that it is a blessing that he is a member of our council and parish. Andy lives out the order’s principles of Charity, Unity, and Fraternity as he has served as an outstanding model of Knighthood and is most worthy of our high esteem and regard.” Andy was one of the forward-looking men who formed our council, after almost 20 years as a knight in other councils. He served his country honorably in both the Navy and the Army, as well as a distinguished career as a chief surveyor. The Bryce family remains a fixture at our parish, and his widow, Olga, is in our prayers.
Andy was born at Sunnyside Colorado in the rustic homestead house his father and uncle built on the old Southern Ute Indian Reservation near the little community of La Posta. He was the sixth of eight children born to La Plata County Pioneers, John Robert and Edna Bryce.
Raised on the family homestead, Andy attended schools both on the Florida Mesa and in Durango. Andy was in his senior year at Durango High School when the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor. Andy was 17 years old when he joined the Navy on February 12, 1942 on a deferred enlistment reporting for active duty immediately upon graduation.
Andy spent three years and eight months on active duty during World War II. First in San Diego as an instructor on aerial torpedo maintenance and later in the war he was stationed on the Majuro atoll in the south pacific. Andy returned to Durango in February 1946 and continued his military service by enlisting in the Naval Reserve.
Civilian life for Andy started again in 1946 when Andy began working for the Colorado Department of Highways in the District Construction Office in Durango. He was on several surveying parties locating and constructing many of the major highways and bridges in and around southwest Colorado.
During a chance meeting January 3, 1947, Andy met the love of his life, Ms. Olga Grisenti, also a Durango native. They were married on July 3, 1947 and over the coming years had nine children.
In October of 1949, Andy left the Naval Reserve to join the Colorado Army National Guard, eventually becoming the Commander of the Durango Artillery Post with the rank of Captain.
In 1958 Andy left the Highways Department to pursue an opportunity to set up a small appliance repair business which he had for four years. In his own words “That didn’t work out too well”. With an ever growing family, Andy took up Government service again and went to work for the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. While at the Bureau, Andy worked on three major water projects in Colorado and one in the Dakotas.
In 1969, Andy retired from the Colorado National Guard and rejoined the reserve service. Andy served a total of thirty-three years and nine months in military service to the country prior to transferring to the retired reserve in 1976. Andy was a life time member of the American Legion.
When President Carter brought a halt to all federal water projects in 1977, Andy transferred from the Bureau of Reclamation to the newly created Department of Energy (Western Area Power Administration – WAPA) as the Chief Land Surveyor. During his time at WAPA, Andy worked on locating paths for many major federally owned transmission lines west of the Mississippi. Andy retired from WAPA in 1985 and took a job as a consultant for SATO Engineering for an additional 5 years, finally retiring for good in 1990. Andy was a licensed Professional Land Surveyor in the state of Colorado from 1968 until he retired in 1990.
After retiring from work, Andy became a Master Gardener and spent many years providing support to Jefferson County Extension Agency all the while winning many awards for his home grown vegetables and other plantings.
Raised in the Presbyterian Church, Andy converted to Catholicism in 1955. He was very active in the Catholic Church as a lector. He sang in the church choir for many years and had a beautiful voice. Andy was a member of the Rosary Guild and made thousands of rosaries for the missions. He also was a 3rd Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. In addition he loved to support young people in their vocations within the church.
Andy is survived by Olga, his wife of 68 years and his children Andrea, Annette, Carol, Thomas, Mary Ann, Donald, Patricia, John Daniel.