Billy Joe Bryant of Hallett, Oklahoma passed from this life with his family at his side on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, at the age of seventy-eight years and thirteen days.
Bill was born December 24, 1937, in Fort Scott, Kansas. He was the son of William Buryl and Sylvia (Duncan) Bryant. Bill moved with his family to South Texas at a young age for a time before relocating to Coffeyville, Kansas where he was raised by his grandparents. He later moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma and lived in the Tulsa Boys Home for a few years. During his time at the Tulsa Boys Home, Bill made many friends who he considered brothers throughout his life. Bill enlisted into the service of his country in the United States Marines at the age of sixteen and was later honorably discharged when his true age was determined. Bill’s first job was at Triangle Blue Print sweeping floors at the age of sixteen. He worked there for several years and was promoted to Blue Print Operator. Bill was later united in marriage to the love of his life Carole Joyce Dunegon, on August 29, 1957 in Miami, Oklahoma.
The couple made their initial home in Tulsa as Bill gained employment at Harmon Construction, working for his uncle. Bill and Joyce later moved to Depew and soon to Kansas and Colorado following construction jobs. In 1967, Bill and Joyce moved their family to New Waverly, Texas, where he began working for a portable toilet company that became his life long career. Bill worked for a portable toilet company for nearly three years before planning his return to Oklahoma to establish his own company. During this time he decided that there was some improvements that were needed to make the portable facilities better. Upon his return to Oklahoma, Bill purchased property in Hallett and moved his family back. Bill worked the days driving a delivery truck and most of the nights refining his new and improved portable toilet. He began by building his own toilets out of plywood. He then converted a pickup truck into a pump truck to service his units. Once he completed the construction of his new prototype; Bill placed several of the units around Tulsa. He continued working as a truck driver and set toilets and pumped them in the evenings as well as late into the night. He continued in this endeavor until he had enough customers to support his family of eight. Joyce was also his partner because she would answer phones and take orders for him to complete when he got home.
Bill later obtained a patent on his portable toilet; Porta John. The company has continued to grow and become the premier portable sanitation provider in the area. Products include: regular self-contained units, lift units, hoist and half units, handicap units, holding tanks, hand-wash stations, event units, black-tie toilet trailers and fresh water tanks. Throughout the successful operation of his company, Bill always remained meek and very humble; never pretending he was better than anyone. In addition to his sanitation business, Bill established many companies including, National Catering.
Bill was an avid motorcycle enthusiast; especially Harley Davidson. In his earlier years, he raced for well-known Tulsa Harley Davidson dealer, Dutch Myers and won many events racing for his team. Additionally, he built and modified motorcycles for his children. He also enjoyed classic cars and was intrigued with airplanes. He later purchased his own plane and constructed his own grass strip. He was also very involved in the cattle business; raising Brahman cattle, the first beef breed of cattle developed in the U.S., which ranked number one in hybrid vigor, heat tolerance and efficiency compared to all other beef breeds.
Bill is survived by wife of fifty-eight years, Joyce of the home; five children, Mark Alan Bryant of Hallett, Oklahoma, Kathryn Rene Kidd of Big Cabin, Oklahoma, Jeannie Ontiveros of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, Terry Dean Bryant of Hallett, Oklahoma, Crissy Ford of Hallett, Oklahoma; thirty two grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by parents, William B. Bryant and Sylvia Gaines; son William Joseph "Joe" Bryant, one sister Linda Marlene Gatlin.
A Rosary will be conducted at 6:00 p.m., Friday, January 8, 2016 at the Chapel of the Chapman-Black Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:00 am Saturday, January 9, 2016 at the Stage Center in Cleveland with Father Chris Daigle as celebrant. Friends may share a memory with the family at the funeral home or online at www.chapman-black.com