March 8, 2019

It is with great sadness (and yet with great hope) that we inform you of the passing of long-time and much-loved Shelby family member, Bryan Lawton. Bryan moved from this life to the next on March 7, 2019. Bryan served Shelby customers faithfully for over 24 years. Many of you may have spoken with him on the phone in Support or met with him at Shelby’s annual conference. Bryan’s work and life were nothing short of miraculous.

Born with cystic fibrosis, Bryan managed the disease well for years, but in his 20s his condition worsened. He had a double-lung transplant in 1997.

Here is Bryan’s story in his own words:

“In May of 1997, I was having one of my usual coughing spells, but this one was much different than the others. I desperately tried to catch my breath as I placed the oxygen mask over my mouth. My thought: “Would this be the last time I would ever take a breath?” With my wife calling 911, I blacked out and minutes later the paramedics arrived. They were able to get me stabilized and placed in the ambulance. Shortly after, I flatlined for about 30 seconds and actually saw the paramedics working on my body as if I was floating near the ceiling watching myself from above. I felt as if I was riding a roller coaster with total freedom and no worry in the world. I then saw the “bright light” that so many people have reported seeing when faced with a near-death experience. When I awoke in the hospital and was told what had taken place, I knew that my life had taken on a new meaning and purpose. I can honestly say that after that experience I am not afraid to die. On Mother’s Day, I came off the respirator and was later added to the transplant list in June of 1997.”

“The second Friday in October (of that same year) was a day that I will remember forever. I could not have imagined that in God’s timing, not mine, I was about to be a part of one of His great miracles. In the afternoon of October 10th, I stopped by my doctor’s office and decided to call the transplant nurse to inquire about some medication. The news I received next was about to change the course of my life forever. I was told that a possible donor had been found, but they were waiting for further results before giving me a complete thumbs-up for the transplant. I anxiously drove back to work hoping and praying that this could be what I had been waiting for. When my pager went off just a short time later, the news was good. The six-hour transplant surgery was performed that evening and went without complication. Now I am preparing to compete in the US Transplant Games, and share the joy of my restored life with other recipients and donation advocates.”

The successful double-lung transplant extended Bryan’s life by over 20 years. He was able to watch his children grow up, meet and marry his wife Rhea, and serve others during those years. Bryan helped to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research by participating in Walk-A-Thons , Golf Tournaments and the Transplant Games of America. He was a tireless worker and spokesman for CF causes.

Bryan was known for being a fun-loving person and didn’t mind getting dressed up for a good laugh. Enjoy these pictures (below) of Bryan playing the part of “Jingles” bringing joy to those who attended the Shelby Christmas party. Other photos of some of our best memories of Bryan Lawton are included as well.

Here is what some of Bryan’s work colleagues and friends had to say about him:

“Bryan was a very passionate person that loved serving others. I can’t think of anyone that has had to suffer through the things he has had to deal with his whole life yet he was always upbeat and positive. A true inspiration to us all.”
Steve Pruitt – Shelby General Manager

“When I think of Bryan I always smile.  We took a lot of jabs at each other, we had fun.  Bryan and I shared a lot of the same interests, particularly playing golf and the Memphis Tigers.  He was such a positive guy, could always find the sunshine, he had a bright outlook on things.  Bryan loved life, I will always remember that about him. “
Mike Martin – Shelby Sales Consultant

“Bryan was my best friend since my freshman year of college, and he was the most optimistic person I knew.  He was a master of making lemonade from all the lemons life gave him. He was also the toughest man I ever knew.  Bryan came to work on several occasions to finish some issues he had been working on after the doctor had told him to go directly to the emergency room.”
Richard Anthony – Senior Programming Manager

“I am filled with gratitude that I got to know and work with Bryan Lawton for 24+ years. Philippians 2:15 says “You will shine among them like stars in the sky”. Thank you, Bryan, for shining your light reflecting God’s glory, whether it was speaking kind words, offering a helping hand, scattering smiles, engaging in meaningful conversations . . . so many ways to shine, and you did them all with so much grace and joy.”
Karen Bishop – Shelby Events Manager

“I met Bryan 23 years ago at Shelby Systems.  Since then we’ve enjoyed raising families, traveling to Conference USA Basketball tournaments to pull for the Tigers,  giving each other a hard time about the Detroit Lions, making ‘short’ jokes… I could go on and on.  He was a great friend and coworker.  To say he will be deeply missed is an understatement.  We miss you Bryan, but know you are in a better place.  Thank you God for the time we had with him.”
Chris Benson – Director of Customer Services

“I’m so thankful for my friend, Bryan. He is without a doubt the most resilient man I’ve ever known. We are all blessed to have witnessed his relentless pursuit of life and to see how one truly lives it to the fullest. He was a great man and I will miss him terribly.”
Randy Turner – Shelby Support Manager

Learn More About: Cystic Fibrosis

30 responses to “Rest In Peace: BRYAN LAWTON”

  1. Bryan will be greatly missed. As his friends and colleagues have shared, he was very friendly and dedicated in work and life.

    Knowing that he is with the Lord takes away the sting; but I would have hoped he could have stayed with us and continued to shine the light that Jesus had put in him.

  2. Being a former coworker I have many fond memories of Bryan. When I was thinking about him today I thought if Bryan wasn’t the heartbeat of Shelby he was pretty darn close to it. Aside from the wide range of responsibilities he had he was usually the organizer and sometimes the instigator of fun around the office. Between the countless potlucks he helped organize along with other activities will be missed. I am grateful for my time at Shelby and the memories I have of Bryan.

  3. I enjoyed working with Bryan. He was always positive and had a great attitude. He invited me to his home to watch some football games. He was a genuinely good guy.

  4. I just saw this and remembered the skinny kid who I taught to swim at the CF swimming classes started by his grandmother and Dr. Aran Hanissian. Swimming was great exercise for those w/ CF so we got them working. I taught for 3 years and the kids ,once they learned,wore us out doing their laps,as we swam w/ them, and working on their breathing! I hope all this kept his lungs in better shape cause I know he worked at staying in shape to keep his lungs as good as possible! He grew up to be quite a guy and adding lots to the lives of his family and friends.RIP Bryan!

  5. I had the privilege of working at Shelby with Bryan for 12 years. From the Support Department pot lucks to the annual Shelby conferences to all the special days and fun activities at Shelby, I never ever saw him without a smile on his face. His love of life was contagious and showed in everything he said and did. What a joy to have known him. Our earthly loss is most definitely Heaven’s gain.

  6. Shelby team, I am sorry for your loss. And mine. As a customer, I knew I was in good hands with Bryan. I was supposed to have a support call with him on January 30th and even in the midst of his own health crisis he made sure I was taken care of. Here’s his email to me that day:

    “Tim,
    I will not be able to call you today as I have had some health issues and I am having to the go to the ER in a few minutes. Chad Beaumont, who also works with Shelby Teller is out today but should be back tomorrow. I will copy him on this e-mail in case you need to get with him and I am out.”

    I’m grateful for Bryan and for the hope we share in Jesus.
    Tim Hollinger

  7. For those who would like to honor Bryan Lawton by attending his memorial service:

    Visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 12th at 12 noon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3245 Central Avenue, with a service immediately following at 1:00 P.M. Burial will follow the service at Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, 5668 Poplar Avenue.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, West Tennessee Chapter, 5865 Ridgeway Center Parkway, Suite 300, Memphis, TN 38120 or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

  8. Although my time at Shelby has not afforded me the opportunity to know Bryan better, I still got to know him pretty quickly. If you ever got to play golf with Bryan, you would have been able to capture the true essence of this man. Just like most of us, he tried hard at the game to perfect the swing. For those of you who have had the privilege to see his swing, you’d know what I mean here. He would get frustrated after each bad shot (again, like most of us). However, he never gave up. He was obviously always trying his best and kept moving to the next shot. He was in constant pursuit. The perfect snapshot of this man’s life. Here’s hoping we see each other again some day for one more round…

  9. I only met Bryan just this past fall when I attended a seminar at the Shelby offices, although I had spoken to him on the phone many times. He was very helpful and always cheerful when we called with a Teller issue. I will miss his cheerful voice. I am grateful to have known him.

  10. I had the pleasure of working with Bryan for the past 24 years. Even through all of his trials and difficulties, I never heard him complain. He was definitely a man of courage and strength, and an inspiration to us all. Bryan, you will be missed.

  11. Brian was super helpful every chance he had. I had no idea about his work with CBF… thankful he saw meaning in his life and am inspired that he gave God glory.

  12. Our deepest sympathy to Bryan’s co-workers…you are in our thoughts and prayers. Bryan was such an amazing resource at Shelby Support, always willing to go the extra mile to help take care of our questions and concerns. He told me last year of his health issues, yet he never seemed to miss a beat.

    Well done, good and faithful servant. Now rest in peace, Sir.

  13. My sincere condolences to the entire Shelby family. Having just lost a dear colleague and friend last year, I know the pain of your loss and I pray for you to find comfort in the memories that you made for so many years. I pray God wrap his loving arms around you and his family and give you peace. May he rest in peace.

  14. Bryan helped me countless times in getting answers to questions and issues our church had with Shelby over many years. Reading about his life and those he touched put a different perspective and personal impact on hearing this news. Yes lucky to be with our Lord but I pray for his family and friends that truely knew him and will feel the pain of his loss … temporarily. Some day we will all be together in His kingdom!

  15. There is no doubt that Bryan will be missed on this Earth, and no doubt that he’s enjoying his time with Jesus at this very moment! He led a life that is a great testimony of God’s faithfulness! My condolences to everyone at Shelby, and to his wife and family.

  16. Clearly, Bryan Lawson lived a life that we should all learn from. In the face of adversity, he rose above the circumstances brought about by a chronic illness. Thank you, Shelby friends, for sharing Bryan’s story. I am so sorry that such a vital member of the Shelby family has been taken from you and from all of us. Know that our hearts go out to all of you in these days of sadness. I am thankful for Bryan’s life, for his faith, and for his example and inspiration that will remain in our memories. Blessings to all of you!

  17. As a Shelby customer for over 30 years, I had the privilege of meeting Bryan at many Shelby conferences and talking with him countless times on the support line. I think many of us have our “favorites” on the support team and Bryan has been one of mine. There was just something special about him and it gave us an instant comfort knowing he was the one helping us. Bryan was so knowledgeable about the product and when we had “weird” or difficult issues, he always persevered to gain a solution. While it saddens me to know the Shelby family has lost a beloved family member, I pray you find comfort and strength in our Lord and Savior during this difficult time of loss.

  18. Thank you for sharing the news about Bryan. He received his promotion and is now rejoicing with others in Heaven! Bryan was excellent at customer support and he will be missed greatly by many. Praying for the Shelby Team as you mourn the loss of a very valuable co-worker.

  19. I had the pleasure of working with Bryan for almost 12 years. Anytime that I ever needed help with anything, he was ALWAYS willing to do whatever he could to help no matter what he already had going on. Bryan was also the reason I always made my “famous” banana pudding for our Support potlucks. I remember the 1st time I participated in our potlucks many years ago. I didn’t know what I was going to bring, and he told me that he needed some desserts so I signed up and made banana pudding. He tasted it, and the rest was history. After that, he would always “voluntold” me to make and bring it. I never had to look at the potluck spreadsheet again. He would have already filled it in for me. (smiles)
    While I am truly going to miss him, I know that God has said “well done My good and faithful servant.”

  20. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I remember meeting Bryan last year at the conference. He had a wealth of knowledge, and was so gracious and helpful in how he presented it.

    The loss of a team member hits the whole team. We will be praying for Bryan’s family, and the Shelby team, as you all process the “new normal” of life in Bryan’s absence. Rest in peace in the arms of Jesus, Bryan.

  21. Bryan was a great guy to work with! I was only at Shelby for a few short years, but during that time, I enjoyed working with Bryan. I wasn’t on his team, but I bugged him all the time when my team leader wasn’t available and he was always patient and helpful! He was always super positive and loved to joke around with others! As sad as it was to hear of his passing, I’m so very thankful that he is now worshiping his Lord and Savior face to face!

  22. I knew Bryan for over 12 years and I can tell you, that on or off the clock he was the same guy.
    His laughter will be greatly missed here at the office. (for Bryan) GO TIGERS!!!

  23. I had the privilege of working with Bryan for a number of years in support. Bryan cared greatly about those organizations he supported, and was always upbeat when you saw him. He was passionate about the Memphis Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals, something I was happy to share with him. I echo the sentiment of my former colleagues. I never heard him complain about the trials he endured. Although he is gone now, his passion and example can live on through the many lives he touched.

  24. His smile will be missed. No one could keep him down. He always moved forward no matter the adversity. He loved his Memphis Tigers and was always there to defend them from any naysayers. He brought a camaraderie to Shelby every year by facilitating a March Madness bracket competition. There were potlucks and there was “Jingles” to bring cheer to all.

  25. I wish I could have been there for the memorial. Bryan was a fighter. I feel privileged to have worked under him several years ago. I have enjoyed seeing his seemingly persistent smile on occasion at conferences since then. I mourn his loss with everyone else here, as well as celebrate his new life with a new body and perfect health.

    See you later, Bryan!

  26. I will miss Bryan. I will miss his smile and his laughter. I will miss chatting with him about U of M football. I will miss seeing him as Jingles the Elf at Christmas. Over the past 20 years at Shelby, I have many great memories of Bryan. I have enjoyed reading the comments posted here from customers and current & former employees. Bryan definitely had a positive impact on all he encountered. At Shelby we mourn the loss of our colleague and dear friend, but we rejoice and find comfort in knowing Bryan is now in the arms of Jesus free of pain and illness. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” RIP Bryan! You are missed.

  27. I’m so sorry, Rhea, Richard … really, everyone who was blessed by knowing Bryan. He was a beautiful person, and we are better for having him in our lives.

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