DUBLIN — The annual Dublin Peanut Festival Parade will pay tribute to the nation’s armed forces with Lelmer C. Bryan leading the way as the 2016 grand marshal on Saturday, Sept. 17.
The popular parade will kick the festivities off Saturday at 10 a.m. and follow its usual route from the intersection of Hwy. 41 and N.C. 87 and pass Dublin Primary School before finishing further north on N.C. 87.
Bryan was born in Bladenboro on Dec. 16, 1922, as the fourth of 13 children to Albert and Carrie Bryan.
He served in World War II as a Navy Seaman 1st Class, seeing action as a gunner in the Pacific Theater, American Theater and in the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign aboard the USS Chelab, one of the war’s most famous ships. Bryan was highly medaled and honorably discharged in April 1946 — and is currently recognized as the oldest WWII veteran in Bladen County.
In February 1953, Bryan married Hilda Garner Bryan — a union that lasted 61 years until her death in April 2014. The couple had two children — Freda B. White and the late Carl Bryan — and he now has four granddaughters, three great-grandsons and one great-granddaughter.
After his service in WWI, Bryan worked as a pipe-fitter and farmer in Bladen County.