University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Senator Steve Bryles: 1957-2012

In The View from the OEP on January 2, 2013 at 10:34 am

We begin this new year with sad news to report: Former Senator Steve Bryles of Blytheville, Arkansas has passed away at the age of 55. Sen. Bryles was an advocate of education in Arkansas while a member of the General Assembly (serving on the Senate Education Committee), a strong supporter of the KIPP Charter School network in Arkansas, and a member of the OEP Advisory Board. His leadership will be missed. The full obituary for Senator Bryles is listed below:

Sen.Bryles

Senator Steve Bryles: 1957-2012

STEVEN MARK “STEVE” BRYLES, age 55, of Little Rock and Blytheville, passed away Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock after a valiant battle with esophageal cancer.

He served as a State Senator, 2001-10, representing Mississippi and Poinsett Counties in his native Delta. At the time of his death, he was the director of the Arkansas Livestock & Poultry Commission.

He was born Sept. 17, 1957 in Piggott, Ark., and was the eldest son of Mark Benjamin Bryles and Velma Louise McReynolds Bryles of Blytheville. Steve leaves in mourning and to cherish his memory his beloved wife Pamela Morehead Bryles of Little Rock and their children Emily Fitzgerald Bryles of Fayetteville, Caitlyn Fitzgerald Bryles of Little Rock and Mark Benjamin (Ben) Bryles of Little Rock. His wife and children were the center of his life.

Steve graduated from Blytheville High School in 1975 and attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville where he majored in Agricultural Economics and joined Sigma Chi Fraternity. He was a Life Loyal Sig. In 1984, Steve launched his 27 year career as an independent cotton merchant having learned the trade from past generations of colorful figures in the business including many on Cotton Row on Front Street in Memphis.

Steve held leadership positions in many professional and civic organizations including the Blytheville Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce and Blytheville Rotary Club among others. He was a Paul Harris Fellow.

Steve enjoyed music, particularly flat pick guitar, reading, family genealogy and the outdoors. He was a fifth generation Arkansan whose great-great-grandparents came to Arkansas in the 1840s and 50s.

In addition to his parents, wife and children, Steve is also survived by his brothers, William Thomas Bryles (Anne) of Hickory Plains, Roger Kent Bryles (Mary Jane) of Fayetteville and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of loyal friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents William Thomas and Addie Elizabeth Stanley Bryles of Hickory Plains (Edwards Community) and Luther Ralph and Ruby Pearl Warren McReynolds of Dutch Mills.

A celebration of Steve’s life will be held at services on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2012 at 11 a.m. at Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock and on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2012 at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Blytheville.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in memory of Steve for his son Ben’s education to the Bryles Education Fund, P.O. Box 1446, Little Rock, Ark. 72203. Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home, www.ruebelfuneralhome.com.

There is also an online “condolences book” for Senator Bryles here.

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