The Edwin E. and Janet L. Bryant Foundation, Inc.



   Ed Bryant was not one to let life pass him by.
   In his 65 years he achieved international recognition as an industrialist. This itself was noteworthy, but there was more to the man than business. He was active in Boy Scouting, an ardent conservationist, and an asset to countless business and civic organizations.
   To those who knew him, he was also down-to-earth, at equal ease with captains of industry and line workers for the company he helped create. And he was a man to whom others naturally gravitated for leadership.
   He was born in Milwaukee in 1906 and raised at Madison, losing his mother to death as a young boy. It might be hard for those living in the late 20th Century to imagine someone without a college degree rising to head such a far-flung industrial concern. A high school graduate who took some night classes, Ed Bryant did not carry university credentials. He did, however, possess insatiable curiosity and an enormous native intellect.
   He began his professional career with C.F. Burgess Laboratories in 1924, spending 15 years working through to the phases of research, engineering, development, production and sales. With this background he joined C.E. Nelson, and Oscar Gusloff in founding the Nelson Muffler Corporation. What began in a basement of a Main Street garage grew and prospered into an international company. A quarter century after Bryant's death, the value of Nelson Industries was nearly a half-billion dollars. The growth pattern of the company closely paralleled that of Stoughton and other communities, for which it provided an economic bellwether.
   Bryant became president, chairman of the board and general manager of the firm in 1956. Contemporaries note his management style was one of surrounding himself with good people and giving them the latitude to make decisions.
   He was active in countless professional organizations and corporate boards, serving in leadership roles in many of them. He was also involved in organizations such as the State Medical Society and Wisconsin Foundation of Independent Colleges, and various conservation groups.
   He served as president of the Wisconsin Association of Manufacturers from 1966-68 and in 1970 was named Man of the Year by the Wisconsin Small Business Association.
   A professional resume, however, does not provide the full measure of a man. He was more at home in the out-of-doors than in the corporate boardroom. His hunting and fishing trips to many places on the globe and many trophy kills are the stuff of local legend. Yet he was not an indiscriminate hunter, choosing to work with guides whose duties were to maintain the ecological balance of species in a given area. He kept meticulous records of his trips and loved to share his travelogues.
   He also strove to share his love of the outdoors through his involvement in the Boy Scouts. Among his most cherished awards were those conferred by the Boy Scouts for distinguished service.
   Ed Bryant died on May 5, 1972, after a rich, full life. His passing was noted in the following manner:
   "His many contributions in all fields stand as indelible memorials to his all-too-short life here."
   "Ed has left many monuments to his accomplishments, deeds that have accrued benefits for us all. And they will stand in time as a constant monument to his time here."
   An important man who was unimpressed by his own importance, a gifted man who shared his gifts, a leader, and one who lived life to its fullest.

The Edwin E. and Janet L. Bryant Foundation, Inc.
3039 Shadyside Drive
PO Box 600
Stoughton, WI 53589-0600