Obituary: Lisa Bryan

Lisa Bryan tragically died on March 29th at the age of 32. The previous evening she had been working at the Party Head Office finalising arrangements for the Conference Rally. This was typical of Lisa. Joining in 1947, her life in the Party had been one of ceaseless activity, serving on occasions as Central Organiser, Party Auditor, Executive Committee member, and finally (a job she held for over 10 years) on the Propaganda Committee.

She excelled in this work but regarded it as no more than a necessary duty. Her element was that of socialist propaganda, and as a speaker and occasional writer for the SOCIALIST STANDARD, she found the most satisfaction.

She had a fine, resonant voice, and it was a pleasure to listen to her. At street corner meetings the slim, attractive girl on the SPGB platform, clearly enunciated the socialist case, commanded respect. In the lecture hall, her material was thoroughly prepared and delivered with economy. Her learning was wide and deep, yet she was severely critical of her own ability.

Perhaps this provides a clue to Lisa Bryan’s rare quality. Many women, unfortunately, still accept and delight in playing the role of the “second” sex. Not Lisa! She expected to be treated as an equal and the standard she set for herself was the highest. Hence the exacting demands she often made on herself.

In her Branch (Paddington), at Conferences and in internal Party discussions, her counsel was calm and constructive. Her tongue could also be sharp. The speaker who failed to attend a scheduled meeting, the literature secretary who let his accounts get into a muddle, the member who took Party work flippantly, all discovered this. But her reproof was administered with humour and understanding.

And yet, when all this has been said, one has hardly begun to describe Lisa Bryan. Socialism for her became inseparable from her whole person, affecting all her feelings and attitudes. To know Lisa was to make a friend, and her friends were many and diverse. Her loss will be felt far beyond her comrades in the Socialist Party.

Staunchly independent, asking little for herself, her humanity consumed her. She was consistently loyal to her friends; unstinting with help when they were in trouble; cheering when their spirits were low. We all depended on her for so much. Lisa Bryan was young and vital, her death leaves an awful gap. But her life enriched ours and we are the better for knowing her.

In her Branch (Paddington), at Conferences and in internal Party discussions, her counsel was calm and constructive.

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