The Look in Brief

Labor leader Eddie Bryan dies at 88

By: - November 16, 2021 12:00 am
"Absent friends." Photo by John Partipilo.

“Absent friends.” Photo by John Partipilo.

Edward Lyle “Eddie” Bryan, longtime Tennessee labor leader, died Sunday at the age of 88.

A Nashville native and graduate of Hume Fogg High School, Bryan began his career as an installer and repairman for South Central Bell, joining Communication Workers of America Local 3808 before working his way into labor leadership. He served as deputy commissioner of Labor for the Tennessee Department of Labor 1975-1979 in the administrations of Democratic Gov. Ray Blanton and Republican Gov. Lamar Alexander.

Edward Lyle "Eddie" Bryan. (Photo: Submitted)
Edward Lyle “Eddie” Bryan. (Photo: Submitted)

In 1981, he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Tennessee AFL-CIO and held the position for more than 30 years.

“Tennessee’s labor movement lost a legend early this morning. Eddie was a larger-than-life figure who never met a stranger and always had a smile on his face. It is truly impossible to not associate the fight for workers’ rights in our state with his name. No words can adequately describe how grateful we are for all of his contributions to our labor family throughout his remarkable life,” said  Tennessee AFL-CIO President Billy Dycus and Secretary-Treasurer A.J. Starling in a written statement.

Bryan created the Eddie Bryan Scholarship for high school graduates between the ages of 17-21 entering their first year of study in a state accredited college or university with the objective of obtaining a minimum of a two-year degree. Bryan had money deducted from his own paycheck for the scholarship fund for 20 years and awarded the first scholarship upon his retirement in 2011. First prize is $5,000, second prize is $2,000, and third prize is $1,000.

He also served on the boards of a number of Nashville government and civic organizations, including the Metro Parks Board, Metro Transit Authority, American Red Cross-Nashville and United Way of Nashville.

Visitation will be at Nashville’s Phillips-Robinson Funeral Home, 2707 Gallatin Rd. from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday from 3pm-8pm with a Masonic service starting at 7pm. Visitation will continue on Thursday from 10am until the time of service at 1 p.m.

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