LOGAN – On May 11, a patriot was laid to rest in the Logan Cemetery with no 21-gun salute or taps to honor his service to his country. COVID-19 robbed Dr. Frank Bryner’s family and others like him of honoring their loved ones with funerals and eulogies. His red, white and blue American flag-draped casket was taken to the Logan Cemetery in a horse-drawn, late 1800’s Sayers Scoalvill hearse, restored and owned by Eli Anderson of Tremonton.
Bryner died at 89 and was well-known as a local surgeon and philanthropist, spending 30 years of vacation time and his own money to help the people in Belize using his surgical skills. He also set up a foundation for travel costs to help children to come to America for medical assistance. He was also a contributor to countless local and national charities.
“He also worked in a free clinic in Logan for some 20 years,” his wife said. “He was a good surgeon, a good man, and he helped a lot of people over the years.”
The Raymond, Alberta Canada native has received many accolades for being involved in service clubs and medical related associations. But what may have escaped some is his military pursuits.
From 1953 to 1955 he served in the U.S. Army in their Counterintelligence Corps as a spook, ghost or spy during the Korean conflict. The history of the CIC said spooks handled all security matters pertaining to the U.S. Army. One of the requirements to become a spook was to have a minimum IQ score of 120. They operated in civilian clothes with false identification and carried a concealed weapon when necessary.
Then in 1988, he closed his Logan orthopedic practice and joined the U.S. Air Force when he was 58 years-old. He spent five years on active duty at RAF Base in Lakenheath, England as the Chief of Orthopedics (Lt. Col). He was called on to patch up soldiers during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Despite not being a traditional service, for Bryner, his wife Luzon said, it was great.
Bryner’s love for antique cars is well documented. He was a member of the Cache Valley Cruise-in Association almost since its inception. There was an entourage of classic car enthusiasts in their favorite rides following the hearse.
Anderson said the two became friends after Bryner came to his booth at the Cache Valley Cowboy Rendezvous in Hyrum.
“I told him about my collection,” Anderson said. “I don’t think he believed me, so he came over to Tremonton to see my collection. We became friends after that.
“We talked last fall about having the hearse take him to the cemetery.”
When Anderson was in the process of restoring the hearse, he went to the local mortician and measured caskets, so he could use it for funerals. Then if people wanted to use it, they could.
“We did the restoration, we painted it, and put on a vinyl top I found,” he said. “I found some nice hearse lamps to make it look even better.”
The antique hearse gets used about twice a year, Anderson said.
The cemetery experience will not be forgotten anytime soon.
“The funeral can be great. People will forget the flowery speeches and life sketches, but this leaves a lasting memory,” Anderson, said. “It was an honor. He was a good man.”