Monday, September 27, 2021


James William ‘Jim’ Bryan


It is with great sadness that the family of James William Bryan announces his passing on Jan. 1, at his home in Canyon Lake, California, at the age of 86.

James is survived by his wife of close to 60 years, Julia Nugent Bryan; five children, daughter Babette Kelley and husband Keith, son Jim Bryan, son William Todd Bryan and wife Ruth, daughter Holly Grande and husband Jeff, and son David and wife Jen; six grandchildren, Nicolas Kelley, Aden Bryan, Phillip Bryan, Gabriella Grande, David Bryan, and Liana Grande; two siblings, sister Mary “Diffy” Smith and her husband Freeman and brother Edwin B. and his wife Marianne; and numerous nieces and nephews.

James is preceded in death by his parents John Widder and Muriel Snelgrove Bryan and brothers John W. “Jack” Bryan, Jr., Bruce P., and F. Gerald Bryan.

Jim spent many years on the shoreline, during his youth from West Haven to Branford and as an adult in Madison.

Jim’s life had many influences, from a military upbringing, an almost four-year stint in the Army, several years as a Bell Helicopter field support representative/instructor, a graduate of the University of Hawaii’s Art Department, lifelong lover of art, and an artist/sculptor who had a family-first life focus. His mechanical background and artistic influences at first glance would seem unrelated, but he found a unique way to merge both into everything he did. This combination allowed him to succeed at a wide variety of professions, from helicopter field support representative/instructor, packaging designer in the cosmetic industry, graphic designer, inventor who holds two patents, CEO of William Hartley cosmetic company, and professor of Graphic Arts at Paier College of Art in New Haven to lifelong instructor for his five children or anyone who asked.

Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Hawaii Art Department Foundation. Contributions may be made at; please add the annotation “In memory of James W. Bryan” in the memo field of the online donation.

The family has planned for a gravesite service with the help of Swan Funeral Homes at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 24 at the Riverside Cemetery in Old Saybrook. There will be a celebration of life following the gravesite service. Please contact the family for specific details by emailing For his online obituary, please visit

Share Your Condolences