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John Wayne Bryant

March 20, 1953 ~ July 26, 2021 (age 68)


John Wayne Bryant, 68, of New Canton passed peacefully on July 26, 2021.  He was born March 20, 1953 in Charlottesville, the son of Harold and Elsie Toney.  In additions to his parents he was also preceded in death by a daughter, Michelle Leighty.

Known by many names, John Wayne, Wayne, Daddeo, PawPaw, Papa, Papa Smurf and Santa Claus the names show what a treasured and loved father, grandfather, brother and friend he was to so many.

Wayne loved cars and motorcycles and over the years he helped organize numerous car shows benefiting organizations such as the American Cancer Society.  He belonged to the Mustang Club and enjoyed showing the, “The Ghost” the mustang he had in memory of his daughter, Michelle.

Wayne looked forward to his role as Santa Claus, and spent much time researching the latest toys so that he would be very familiar with any of the children’s requests

Wayne is survived by his daughter, Samantha Mertus and her husband, Ryan; sister, Susan Fahed; grandchildren, Ethan Leighty and his wife, Kathy Nguyen, Caleb Mertus and Isabelle Mertus and many other family and friends.


A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the Dunkum Funeral Home.  The family will receive friends following the service,

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Wayne Bryant, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
July 31, 2021

11:00 AM
Dunkum Funeral Home
16923 Oak Street
Dillwyn, VA 23936


American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City OK 73123
Tel: 1-800-227-2345

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