On December 12, 2018, QLF Founder The Ven. Robert A. Bryan passed away peacefully in Sherbrooke, Québec at the age of 87. A bush pilot, Anglican Minister and entrepreneur, Bob Bryan founded the Quebec-Labrador Foundation in 1961.

Read a tribute from Larry Morris, President Emeritus, and watch a visual representation of Bob’s life in the slideshow below:


In June, Kerry Bryan Brokaw (daughter of Robert Bryan) and her husband Bags (QLF-U.S. Board member) and youngest son Shea returned to the Lower North Shore of Quebec for a family visit to Kegaska and Harrington Harbour, Quebec. In keeping with Bob’s wishes to have his ashes placed in Kegaska and Harrington Harbour, Kerry organized and hosted two memorial services and laid Bob’s ashes in the respective cemeteries. As Bags stated, “it was pure serendipity that the respective services came together with the right people making themselves available to honor Bob’s extraordinary legacy on the North Shore. The services were beautiful moments with beloved friends, music, and remembrances. Bob would have surely been pleased to see the outpouring of love for him and his family going back through generations.”

Kerry Bryan Brokaw (center), with husband Bags and youngest son, Shea, at the church in Kegaska where a memorial service for Robert A. Bryan was held.

Linda Stubbert (originally from Harrington) kindly traveled with Kerry and family to Kegaska from Sept Iles, Quebec to join Gladys Morency to conduct the Kegaska service on June 25th. Gladys is an ordained minister working in Kegaska, her childhood home.  Bob’s niece Beth Stubbert and husband Enis (from Kegaska) were also there for their summer stay from Ottawa and played the violin and guitar beautifully at Bob’s service. Then, traveling to Harrington Harbour by ferry with the Brokaws, Linda presided at the Harrington service on June 28th. Paul Rowsell, Wilson Evans, Sharon Ransom and Kerry spoke, and Jerry Anderson played the accordion (see clip below). After the service the congregation walked to the cemetery where Bob’s ashes were placed by many of his longtime friends.

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This Ipswich Chronicle article, “Rev. Bob Bryan leaves a living legacy,” offers an illuminating look into why Bob founded the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, and how he first discovered community-based conservation.

“He loved people and their stories. People keep telling me he made such difference in their lives, but they also made a difference in his.” – Sandy Bryan Weatherall

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After sharing the news with a heavy heart that Bob Bryan had passed away, tributes began pouring in on social media, email and phone calls. Below are just a few of the many stories:

In an email from Norman Pinder,

I’m sure you must feel, as I do, somewhat blessed to have been drawn, by accident or fate, to such beacons of humankind as Bob Bryan and Wilfred Grenfell. Our lives and careers have been shaped by them. They have been our reference point. They have set us a challenge to adapt their message for the twenty-first century. I’m sure Bob will have left this world happy in the knowledge that QLF is in such fine hands and doing just that.

Bob Bryan with QLF Interns
Photograph Courtesy of QLF Archives

Shared by Jock Conyngham:

As I told his granddaughter Grace, my favorite memory is being seated next to him at some kind of large anniversary celebration at Hotchkiss. Alumni from various disciplines were grouped into panels, and he and I were on the environment panel. If I recall correctly, we each had to speak for a half hour and then be prepared for fifteen minutes of discussion. I had been back in the country from work in Tanzania for less than 24 hours, and, somewhat uncharacteristically, I actually prepared notes for a written talk. As Bob and I visited, I lay out my notes.

He said, “Are we supposed to give a presentation?”

I replied, “Mr. Bryan, I believe so. For thirty minutes.”

Flustered, he asked if he could borrow a pen and some paper. I had none of the latter. He grabbed some napkins and scribbled madly on them. And then proceeded to give one of the best talks.

And so, as Hamlet said in his speech about his dead father in Act 1, Scene 2,                                                        “I shall not look upon his like again.”

The Ven. Robert A. Bryan, Founder, Quebec-Labrador Foundation, 2008
Photograph Courtesy of Dr. Candace Cochrane





Bob Bryan with some of the first QLF Volunteers, Harrington Harbour, Québec, Canada, 1963
Photograph Courtesy of QLF Archives






Bob Bryan with QLF Volunteers
Photograph Courtesy of QLF Archives














Bob Bryan and President Emeritus Larry Morris walk on Wassaw Island during a QLF Staff Retreat.
Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth Alling

From many wonderful stories shared by Kirby Nadeau, he also offered these words:

I really liked the quote, “Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.” Bob was that special friend for numerous people, and he certainly knew how to fly. In his book, he said he liked to “turn with the sun.” All of us who were touched by his grace or had the privilege to spend any quality time in his circle know that the sun is flying with him now. His warm rays will forever shine through this lifetime and beyond.


N369E graces the windswept skies
Photograph Courtesy of QLF Archives


Reverend Robert A. Bryan, also known as the “Flying Preacher” used money from early “Bert and I” records as a down payment to buy a Cessna float plane to serve remote regions of Canada for the Quebec Labrador Foundation.

“Bert and I” is the first track from the original “Bert and I…and other stories from Down East” (1958) Album by Marshall Dodge and Robert A. Bryan. This video includes graphics telling the story of the iconic “Bert and I” stories and their creators. The original “Bert and I” CD’s are available from Island Press: http://www.islandportpress.com/