A formal reception on Thursday honored Juanita M. Bryant of Boonville and Raleigh, for 65 years of volunteer and public service to North Carolina. Her greatest achievements include serving as the 1982-1984 General Federation of Woman’s Club International president, executive director of the North Carolina Council for Women, development director of the YWCA of Wake County, and raising her family on her Boonville farm in Yadkin County.
Bryant was the first woman in North Carolina to be appointed by a governor to chair a state board or commission when she was appointed by Governor Bob Scott to chair the State Youth Advisory Board. Governor Terry Sanford appointed her to serve on the Roanoke Island Historical Foundation and the NC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. Governor Dan K. Moore appointed her to a committee of the Education Commission. Governor James B. Hunt Jr. appointed her to serve on the Domestic Violence Commission. She also served on the NC Center on Crime and Punishment, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and NC Consumer Council.
Governor James B. Hunt Jr. appointed her executive director of the North Carolina for Women, saying, “Mrs. Bryant is one of North Carolina’s most knowledgeable citizens in the area of woman’s issues.” She directed the council from 1993 until retirement in 2000, heading up programs for women, including displaced homemakers, domestic violence, sexual assault, women in the military, women in business, leadership connections for at-risk youth, and the annual recognition of the Distinguished Women of North Carolina. Bryant led the North Carolina delegation of 48 women to the UN Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995.
Bryant received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2000 and the Distinguished Citizen of North Carolina Award in 1982 from Governor Hunt, the 2013 Woman of Distinction award from NC Women’s Forum, the 2012 Democratic Woman of the Year award, the 2001 NC Council for Women’s Distinguished Woman of North Carolina award, 2000 NC Equity’s Carpathian Award for Service, and the 1999 Wake County Woman in Government Award from the YWCA.
Several of Bryant’s formal evening gowns, numerous awards and pictures with U.S. Presidents and celebrities she encountered during her decades of public service were showcased at the tribute. The tribute was sponsored by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of North Carolina District 6 and The Woman’s Club of Raleigh.