Ilva Olean Bertrand Bryant

  • Born: September 20, 1924
  • Died: March 28, 2015
  • Location: Rayville, Louisiana

Brown-Holley Funeral Home

603 Francis Street
PO Box 812
Rayville, LA 71269
Tel. (318) 728-4167

Tribute & Message From The Family

Ilva Olean Bertrand Bryant, 90, passed away peacefully in her home Saturday, March 28, 2015. Ilva was born September 20, 1924 in Elton, Louisiana to Odel and Ida Bertrand. After graduating from Elton High School and completing business school in Lake Charles, Ilva moved to Monroe in 1942 with her employer when the company was contracted by T. L. James to help build Selman Army Field. It was there, that she first met and quickly fell in love with a handsome young Army paratrooper, Carl "Leo" Bryant, Sr. They were married in December 28, 1944 while Leo was home on a furlough.

After World War II, they settled in Leo's hometown of Rayville, Louisiana where they had two sons, and made a simple, but beautiful life on their farm. A woman of faith, she found a second home at Sacred Heart Catholic Church where she served on the Altar Society and taught catechism. With a servant's heart, she cared for her family and friends with her amazing cooking, homemaking, sewing and crocheting - handing out her homemade dishcloths to everyone she knew and even to those she didn't know yet. Her Cajun heart and Southern grace shone through as she rarely met a stranger and went out of her way to make you feel welcome. Family and friends meant everything to her and Leo as they remained close to their extended families despite the distance that separated them. Together, they loved to travel and care for those in need through their quiet Christian example. She saw this life as a gift and could often be heard saying, "just look how much God has blessed us!"

She was preceded in death by her precious and devoted husband of 68 wonderful years, Carl "Leo" Bryant, Sr., her parents, Odel and Ida Bertrand, her sister, Velma Bertrand Clark, and her brothers, Curtis "Tiny" Bertrand, and Malcolm Bertrand.

She is survived by her two sons and daughter-in-laws, Carl Leo Bryant, Jr. and his wife, Brenda, of Rayville; and Franklin Odel Bryant and his wife, Mary "Celeste", of Natchitoches. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Jennifer Mercer and her husband, Cole, of Mont Belvieu; Bridget Verret and her husband, Yves, of Shreveport; Carl Leo Bryant, III and his wife, Maggie, of Winnfield; Catherine Whitttington of Natchitoches; Donna Cooper and her husband, Chris, of Shreveport; and Rebecca Bates and her husband, Trevor, of Pensacola, Florida; as well as eleven great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews.

Visitation and a rosary will be held Sunday, March 29 at 6:00 pm at Brown-Holley Funeral Home in Rayville, Louisiana. On Monday, March 30 at 10:00 am, the funeral Mass will be presided over by Father Phillip Pazhayakai at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rayville followed by graveside services in the St. Paul Catholic Church Cemetery at 4 pm in Elton, Louisiana. Serving as pallbearers are Carl Leo Bryant, III, Cole Mercer, Yves Verret, III, Christopher Cooper, David Bertrand and Philip Todd Bertrand. Honorary pallbearer is Trevor Bates.

The family would like to thank the caregivers and healthcare providers of Delhi Hospice who compassionately and attentively cared for her and Mr. Leo in the last few years.

Should friends desire, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (, Memorial & Honor Program, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Visitation will be 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Sunday, with a Rosary starting at 7:00 PM at Brown-Holley Funeral Home, Rayville.