Michael James Bryan of Dunwoody left this life on Sunday, July 9, surrounded by his family after a long battle with sarcoma cancer.
He was born in Oklahoma City in 1966, son of Dorothy Hall Bryan and Larry James Bryan. He is survived by his parents and his wife Lelia Lee Bryan; daughters Willa Napier Bryan, Mackenzie Hidell Bryan and Berkley Kelleher Bryan; brother Dustin Lee Bryan; and step-mother Diana Marie Bryan.
Michael was a graduate of the University of Georgia in 1989 and member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
He worked in sales at MCI, owned his own staffing company and most recently founded the Atlanta Wine School and Vino Venue located in the Georgetown Shopping Center. Vino Venue is his life’s work that combined his many talents in the wine and culinary world. Vino Venue combines a restaurant, wine bar, cooking and wine classes, and events and tours of wine country. His credentials in wine were numerous. He was an eloquent speaker, passionate educator and mentor to many. His inspiration and enthusiasm helped many evolve as oenophiles.
Michael was honored as a Bulldog 100, an honor awarded to entrepreneurs of the fastest growing businesses of UGA graduates, every year since the award’s inception in 2010. In 2016 he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Dunwoody Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. He was also on the Alcohol Review Board for the city.
Michael was a light in the community and a devoted citizen; the impact of his leadership will leave a lasting legacy.
Michael was also passionate about music, travel and life in general. He was incredibly fit prior to his final diagnosis. He was second in his age group in the Georgia Games open water swimming event in 2016 where he was the only physically-challenged participant.
He was a genuine, generous, ambitious and loving soul. Michael lit the room up with his presence. He was engaging and full of humor. He was an exceptional friend to many.
He was optimistic and courageous in the face of cancer until the very end. His perseverance and positive attitude were inspiring.
He was a devoted husband and father. In the words of his daughter Willa:
My father is strong, brave and courageous.
He is a survivor and my all-time hero.
He helps me with my homework and is an amazing cook.
He is an interesting dancer and an “ok” driver.
But he is the best at being my dad.
I love you dad.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Sarcoma Foundation of America at curesarcoma.org or to The Willa Bryan Education Trust, care of Mason Bahr LLP.