The pen of a prolific local writer who has had his work published in numerous publications stilled yesterday.
The family of Bryant Steele was notified of his death Wednesday and are in the process of making funeral arrangements, Floyd County Coroner Gene Proctor said.
“Bryant had been struggling with health problems for a long time,” Rome News-Tribune Executive Editor John Bailey said. “I’d see him around town and we’d talk whenever we ran into each other. I learned a lot about writing — especially narrative writing — in his time here at the newspaper, and always appreciated his ability to not only practice his craft, but also to teach his craft and pass it along.”
He came to work at the Rome News-Tribune in December of 2007 as the business editor, but began his journalism career as the editor of the University of Georgia’s Red & Black newspaper.
He also worked at the Augusta Chronicle and The Macon Telegraph.
Steele’s career then moved on to work for AT&T and was a media spokesman for the company when a bomb went off in the AT&T Pavilion at Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympics.
In the days following, Steele became the point person for much of the information disseminated to the media. Also, in the wake of the bombing, he arranged interviews for the security guard who found the bomb and alerted authorities to its presence.
As a freelancer, before coming to Rome, his work was published in Newsweek, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta magazine, Elysian Fields, The Charlotte Observer, TechLinks, The Brief and Georgia on My Mind.
Dekie Hicks, anthology coordinator for the Rome Area Writers had dinner with Steele about three weeks ago. That was the last time she saw him.
“Bryant had been with Rome Area Writers for many years. He loved the group. He was very supportive of a community-based literary group,” Hicks said. “He was on the board and he wrote press releases for us. He was also on the the editorial committee for the anthology. But more than that, he often brought his own writings to share with the group, and he participated in our poetry reading nights in the Courtyard at Schroeder’s Deli.”
“He was a friend and a good guy,” Hicks said.
Since leaving the Rome News-Tribune he wrote a Cents & Sensibility column in V3 Magazine from May 2010 through April of 2018, focusing on hot-button topics surrounding politics, business and modern culture.
“He was a talented and fearless writer, who delivered his opinions through his life experiences,” Oliver Robbins, representing the magazine, wrote. “Those who agreed and disagreed with him took the time to read what he had to say, and over the years we regularly received praise or disdain from both parties in their respective reactions to his columns. The most important fact to note is that he was able to reach others through the written word, and he was one of the best to ever grace the pages of our magazine.”