Marija Vaivads Bryant, 73, wife of Robert Tod Bryant of Norwalk, died suddenly on November 16, 2019 while visiting longtime friends in Vermont. Born on May 28, 1946 in Bad Rehburg, Germany, the daughter of Valdemars and Nina (Petrovs) Vaivads, who were refugees from occupied Latvia. She arrived in the United States with her parents and grandparents in 1950. The family lived and worked on a farm owned by their sponsor family in Salem, New York before moving to Albany and later Niskayuna, New York. Despite speaking only Latvian and German when Marija arrived here, she received her BS in Psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and her MA in American Literature from Boston College. She worked as a writer for WCRB in Boston before leaving for Europe and North Africa on her own for months as one of the many backpackers travelling the globe at that time. Marija returned to Albany where she met her husband, Tod, and found work as a writer at General Electric.
The couple moved to New York City in 1975 where she continued to work as a writer and Tod as a commercial photographer. They in settled in Norwalk in 1985, where she became involved in civic affairs at the urging of a neighbor. An active member of many neighborhood and civic organizations, including the Norwalk Historical Commission, she and her husband were founding members of the Norwalk Preservation Trust. Marija first served in public office as Treasurer of the First Taxing District and later as a Commissioner and finally Chairperson of the Commission. Marija never lost her urge to travel and, together with Tod, they visited 26 countries.
Marija is survived by Tod, her husband of more[SP1] than 40 years, who adored her, her two sisters; Sandra Vaivads Pangburn with husband Kevin, daughter Liana[SP2] and son Paul, and Nora Vaivads Taylor with husband Dan and sons Aleks and Chris; her loyal dog Roscoe and companionable cat, Lester. All of them miss her beyond words.
Marija’s family will receive friends on Saturday, November 23, from 11-2 PM, with tributes to begin at 1:00 PM, at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Avenue, Norwalk. Memorial donations in her name may be made to: PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society) in Norwalk https://www.pawsct.org[SP3] /
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552 Main Ave., Norwalk CT 06851