Don Bryan an Outer Banks Icon


As much as we like to report on all the good stuff that happens on the Outer Banks, occasionally there is some sad news and this is one of those times.

Long-time resident of the Outer Banks, artist, philanthropist and former mayor of Nags Head, Don Bryan passed away last week.

Don–or Colonel Bryan for those who know his full story–was one of the most fascinating people I have ever been privileged to know.

He volunteered for service soon after the US entered WWII, served as a machine gunner on a B17–loved flying so much that he stuck with it, eventually flying jets in the Air Force. When he ended his 32 year military career, he was a Colonel in the Pentagon.

Along the way, he had learned to paint and loved it, and thought that he would retire to Nags Head with his wife Catharine, to pursue his passion–except his passion for service was just as strong and he ended up serving as mayor of Nags Head from 1978 until the mid 1990s.

He and Catharine did not have any children and they felt it was important to leave a legacy, and to that end the couple created the Don & Catharine Bryan Cultural Series–an organization that has already brought Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian David McCullough to the Outer Banks.

A remarkable man with a restless and insatiable intelligence who lived life to the fullest.