Bill Bryan playing the trumpet at commencement ceremony

Chaplain G. William (Bill) Bryan, DTS graduate, beloved chaplain, pastor, friend, devoted husband, father of three, grandfather to nine, and spiritual mentor to many, passed into the presence of our Lord early in the morning, Friday, December 14. While our hearts are saddened by this news, we have the hope of the resurrection that will take place with that final trumpet sound. Please be in prayer for the Bryan family, especially Chaplain Bill’s dear wife, Shirley.

Memorial Service

The Bryan family cordially invites you in commemorating a life well lived to the glory of God:

Visitation to be held Thursday, December 20th, 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home
2525 Central Expressway North
Allen, Texas 75013

Memorial Service to be held Friday, December 21st, 2:00 pm
Grace Bible Church
11306 Northaven Road
Dallas, Texas 75229

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Dallas Theological Seminary.

Join the livestream of Chaplain Bill Bryan’s memorial service this Friday, December 21st, at 2 pm Central Time. The video will also be available to watch at this site after the service. Please continue to pray for the Bryan family.

Memories of Chaplain Bill

Dr. Mark L. Bailey, current president of DTS:

Chaplain Bill Brian was one of a kind—a skilled musician on the trumpet, a kind-hearted counselor whom you could trust to be confidential, and a pastor who loved the people he served. We came on the DTS faculty together in 1985 and we have walked and served together since. Bill is deeply loved by faculty and students alike and he certainly raised the level of true joy for all of us in the seminary community.

Dr. Charles R. Swindoll,  chancellor of DTS:

I have know and loved Bill Bryan since 1959, when I first arrived on the DTS campus. He and I were friends from then until he left us—a close friendship of almost 60 years.


Bill was the “consummate encourager,” whose love for others and devotion to Christ flooded every room he entered. It was such a pleasure to minister with him as he led the music with his winsome voice and clear-sounding trumpet, always turning our attention heavenward. His joy was constant and his laughter was contagious. We shall miss this man who faithfully modeled grace and kindness.

Joe Allen, DTS Campus Pastor

Bill Bryan became the second chaplain at DTS while I was a student and I sat under his teaching. It appealed to me because I was headed for the pastorate. He was clear, funny, and loving. When I was called as the third chaplain to succeed Chaplain Bill, I knew I could never fill his shoes, yet he was so encouraging—unbelievably so! I desired the position largely due to the example “Chaps” had set for me. I will miss him dearly. What a man!

Dr. Greg Hatteberg, executive director of Alumni Services, assistant professor for EML:

Because of his personality, Bill instantly filled any room. Because of his heart, Bill immediately filled your life. He was the definition of extreme and living life to the fullest. In the most gentle way, he could take you down if you needed it. Yet in the strongest way, he could build you up with encouragement. Bill could do crazy and yet be the king of calm.


Bill was the best example of the consummate pastor. Embedded in my heart and used by Bill to give comfort to decades of DTS students and families, is a verse he said. “Any pastor worth his salt as a shepherd better know and believe,“The Lord is good, a stronghold on the day of trouble, and He know those who take refuge in Him” (Nahum 1:7).


Bill married Lisa and I and I am eternally grateful for the true impact he has on my life.

Dr. Robert Garippa (ThM, 1981):

I could say so much and not really find words adequate to define or describe the impact Bill had on me, the students, staff and faculty at DTS. In my estimation he was a David in our midst who shepherded with integrity of heart, and guided with skillful hands (Psalm 78:72). 


Bill was the consummate elder, a man who lived his life above reproach leaving nothing undone or half-completed, and oh how he loved Shirley, his childhood sweetheart and partner in ministry. She was his dearest friend on earth. Bill was the kind of person that made everyone feel that they were his friend. And I felt he was a friend with whom I could laugh and cry in the same conversation and see reflected in his face, the same laughter and tears. He was also a man of instant deep-hearted and fervent prayer. On any occasion and in any place, he would say “let’s go to the throne of grace” and he would lead us to the Father’s throne. I saw in Bill a real live example of Phil 4:7-9 in what he called “a planned biblical response” to difficulties in his five “P’s” in a pod; Prayer, praise, peace, positive thoughts, practice. And he taught me by example how to say to brothers and sisters in Christ a heart-felt “I love you.” I love you, Bill.

Doug Mackinnon, senior advancement officer :

Chaplain Bill had a favorite saying. He loved to say, “I love you.” He was so generous in saying it throughout the day to family, friends, and anyone that was helping him.


My heart was warmed several weeks ago when I witnessed a nurse bringing him his pills and he boldly said to her, “I love you.” She smiled and quickly replied, “I love you, too.” I’m sure when Chaplain Bill would ask himself, “What gift can God give through me today?” I know the answer would be to say “I love you” to as many people as possible. It naturally flowed from the abundant life that welled up deep inside this servant of the Lord.

Andy Wileman (ThM, 1982), lead pastor, Grace Bible Church:

Bill Bryan lived a loud life. His greetings were loud. His trumpet was loud. His singing was loud, too. But more than anything else in his life, Bill’s love was loud. We all seek to love, but Bill’s love filled the room and impacted everyone who knew him.


Bill, Shirley, and their family have been a significant forces in my life and ministry for more than 30 years. All of us who knew Bill have stories of his unforgettable personality. He could be practically outrageous, while also remarkably tender. We shared our laughter and tears with Bill because we knew he cared. But we dishonor his memory if those stories neglect the objects of Bill’s loves. Bill’s greatest desire was always that we might also be infected by the same love for His Lord. His family was filled with love because Bill’s Savior was always present. Even his music was inseparable from worship of Christ through hymns and Saints.


Bill will be missed, but his love will not be forgotten.

Life and Ministry

In 2015 Chaplain Bill Bryan retired after thirty years of faithful ministry at DTS. An online article commemorating his faithfulness and service recounted how he came to faith and how God changed his life. In it Karen Giesen writes about how the love for his wife, Shirley, transformed Chaplain Bill and how, with a trumpet in hand, he impacted those at DTS. Giesen wrote:

Chaplain Bill lives and loves with unique vigor. And that love spills over in contagious laughter. And fun. Students once saved their newspapers for an entire semester to fill his office with crumpled wads. Bill thought it was a hoot. At other times, startled students visiting Student Services for the first time thought the Rapture was at hand when the trumpet sounded from the corner office.


According to Mike Lawson, “A chaplain has got to be the commensurate people person. On a scale of 1 to 10, Bill is probably a 12. He remembers people’s names. He is deeply devotional himself. His love for God is very intense and very transparent. He prays for people. If you're experiencing grief, he knows what grief feels like. He knows when to be quiet. He knows when to speak. There is no malice in this man. No false motive.” (read more)

Ministry and Legacy

Video story about Chaplain Bill
A Planned Biblical Response to Discouragement (chapel)
Sitting Down with God (chapel)
Five P's in a Pod (chapel)