James Bryan King of Houston, Texas, left this world on Monday, April 1, 2019, at the age of 89. At the time of his passing, he had been hospitalized at North Cypress Medical Center and Kindred Houston Northwest Hospital, battling several ailments related to his age.
Bryan was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Walter T. and Eula (Rogers) King on March 14, 1930. He was the sixth of eight children in the family. Preceded in death by both parents and brothers Doug, Joe and Bobby, sisters Myrtice, Dorothy and Pauline, he is survived only by his brother, Floyd (and wife Janet), of Wichita Falls, Texas.
Moving from north Texas with his family at a young age, Bryan grew up in Houston and attended Reagan (now Heights) High School. Following graduation, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War and served stateside as a member of the military police until being honorably discharged in 1953.
During his tour of duty in the Army, Bryan felt a call to the ministry and, after his military discharge, he entered Bible Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth (which would later become Arlington Baptist College in Arlington, Texas) in pursuit of that call. Even as he studied in seminary, he began to serve in local churches.
Blessed with a strong baritone singing voice, Bryan used his musical abilities to serve as a music minister, as well as serving in various teaching capacities. His path in ministry eventually brought him back to Houston to Helmers Street Baptist Church, where he would serve as minister of music and youth director—and meet his future wife, Sara Jane Duckett.
Jane and Bryan were married on May 6, 1960, and they continued to serve at Helmers Street as they began to grow their family. They welcomed their first son, Lonnie Edward, in May of 1961 and their second son, Gary Michael, in February of 1963.
In April of 1964, he was called to assume the pastorate at Liberty Baptist Church in Langwood on the growing northwest side of Houston. He would serve as the church’s pastor until his retirement nearly 50 years later.
His family grew again in April of 1966, with the final addition to the crew of a daughter, Susan Elizabeth. The family would live in the same house on Lodge Street until all three children were grown. And, through those years, Bryan and Jane instilled a love of music, a love of laughter and a legacy of unconditional love, mercy and forgiveness in their family. But above all else, they planted the seeds of a strong faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel. That faith was the foundation that created strong family bonds and principles that still guide the current generation of the family today.
Bryan’s wife Jane preceded him in death by almost 12 years, in June of 2007, after succumbing to cancer. His three children and their families survive him: son Lonnie and wife Dawn, with grandchildren Sarah, Kaitlyn, Tyler and Hunter; son Gary and wife Jenea, with grandchildren Paul (wife Lavonna, with great-grandchildren Elena, Vida and Estela), Jordan and Madison; daughter Susan with grandchildren Josh, Kelsey, Kayla (husband Joshua, with great-grandchild Scarlett) and Katelyn.
His grandsons Paul Zavala (U.S. Navy) and Tyler King (U.S. Air Force) followed him into military service. He was proud of them and their service, but all his grandchildren were his pride and joy and their love for “Grandad” was evident to him, up to the final hours of his earthly life.
In total, his surviving immediate family includes one brother, three children, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. But, beyond his immediate family, Bryan is also survived by a host of extended family members and friends, all of whom he loved and appreciated.
His funeral service will be held Monday, April 8, 2019, at Cypress-Fairbanks Funeral Home, 9926 Jones Road, at 1:00 p.m. Pastor Lee Ambros will officiate. A private burial at Houston National Cemetery will follow the service.
Bryan’s family thanks those who cared for his medical needs over the final days of his life, as well as his countless friends and extended family members who expressed their love and concern for him. They also acknowledge with gratitude the continuous care through the years of many of his needs by his church family—Pastor Ambros and the membership of Liberty Baptist. Your outpouring of love for him comforts them.
He spent the last couple of weeks of his life affirming that he was ready to “go home” and continually reminded anyone who was visiting him of a portion of one of his favorite Bible verses, “…to die is GAIN…” (Philippians 1:21). On Monday, April 1, Bryan gained his heavenly home.
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…therefore, we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight).
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 5:1, 7-8)