Dr. Vivian Joy Weathers
September 15, 1956 - April 30, 2023
Obituary For Dr. Vivian Joy Weathers
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Dr. Vivian Joy Weathers Bryant, born September 15, 1956 in Okinawa, Japan, was the second daughter from the union of Dr. William and Ella Weathers. Her Dad was a Captain in the United States Army stationed in Japan. The family eventually moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where her Father completed his medical residency at the University of Minnesota. The family then moved back to Kentucky, settling in Louisville.
Vivian came into this world with a smile on her face. So much so that she was given the first name of Vivian, meaning life and the middle name of Joy. `From an early age, she showed an exceptional talent of being able to express and engage with others, a passion for recognizing injustices, and a deep compassion for humanity. Her father, Dr. William Weathers, started developing her communication skills early by helping her practice one of her first speeches at the age for 5 years old titled, “There Are Many Flags in Many Lands.” She rehearsed this speech with her father many times until it was flawless. Shortly after, she gave a speech about the eye to her elementary school class complete with an eye model her father gave to her. Vivian was so happy to discuss the eye and showing various parts of the eye model in class. As Vivian explained and began to disassemble the eye, the children watched in complete horror. After the speech, the teacher called Dr. Weathers to question him on the appropriateness of the display and level of detail for elementary school students. Doctor Weathers always wanted his girls to speak up for themselves and would frequently tell them to say something. At the same time did not want them to speak nonsense and would tell them “no investigation no right to talk.”
Vivian also encountered injustices from an early age. While, at a movie theater in Kentucky at the age of 5 years, she noticed fresh popcorn bubbling out of the pan into a container. She asked for the popcorn and was told she could not have any fresh popcorn. But instead, could only have the old stale popcorn in the old paper bags in the upstairs portion of the theater. Even at the tender age of 5, Vivian protested vehemently not moving until she got an answer requiring her grandmother to take her by the hand and drag her upstairs. Her grandmother later spoke to her father about talking to Vivian about her behavior. Vivian never returned to that theater despite urging from family and friends.
Another instance was while Vivian was still in her impressionable years, at a Department Store with her father. They approached the candy counter to purchase a pecan roll. As her father began to finalize his selection the cashier in a very mean tone of voice asked, “Can you read?” Dr. Weathers responded, “Yes, I can read.” Incensed, Vivian questioned her father about why he didn’t say he was a doctor.
Beginning at a young age, Vivian always spoke up for what she felt was wrong. Her mother was active in the civil rights movement of the time and Vivian would later draw inspiration from her. Vivian learned about compassion early in her life and helping people who were less fortunate. Every Christmas, the Weathers children would have to give at least one gift they received to someone less fortunate. At first, Vivian would give items with little significance, but as the years progressed, the gifts she gave were more significant and eventually gave away her most significant gift.
Vivian was an exceptional student throughout her educational journey. She loved to ascertain new information about any subject. She enjoyed reading and studied with a desire to learn all she could. She was the first female African American to graduate Valedictorian from Flaget High School in Louisville, Kentucky in 1974. In September of the same year, she attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York graduating in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
Vivian decided at an early age that she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a physician. She received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the American University of the Caribbean in Montserrat, BWI. After graduating from medical school, her plans were to work with her father. She was excited and thrilled about this opportunity to practice medicine with him in Louisville, Kentucky. Unfortunately, her father passed away suddenly in August of 1986. True to her unselfish nature, Vivian paused her career to care for and support her mother in Louisville during this challenging season. Later, Vivian moved to Chicago and became a substitute teacher, dealing with troubled adolescent while waiting for a psychiatry residency position at Loyola University. After completing the first year, she was honored as “The Intern of the Year.” She then decided to make a change leaving the hectic pace of Chicago transferring to East Carolina University to complete her residency training program in psychiatry. She was instantly thought of as friendly and engaging. She was outspoken and not afraid to express her opinion. She was also an excellent public speaker, unafraid of speaking in front of large audiences. Vivian excelled in the program. She was asked to do a Grand Rounds presentation within weeks of being accepted into the program. This is something that most residents prepare for a very long time and often wish to avoid. But not Vivian. She was thrilled to give the presentation! Her lecture focused on traumatized children and how they can be mislabeled and treated inappropriately. A robust discussion ensued about best practices for treating traumatized youth. Vivian always showed a natural, supportive, excited exuberance and enthusiasm which made communicating with people effortless. One would almost feel compelled to talk, as if a safe space was being created to foster discussion. Provided, of course, that this was not when she is upset with you!
Vivian’s ability to genuinely engage with others lead to the next phase of her career with Pfizer Medical Staff where she led pharmaceutical discussions on medication with audiences including doctors, staff and layman. Her presentations would initially start with discussing the various aspects of a particular medication but would quickly change into a discussion about human issues and how to best deal with them. This approach was quite well received leading her to be highly sought-after speaker. She had numerous speaking engagements around the country including North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, California and even outside of the U.S.
Despite a very busy schedule, Vivian consistently made time to monitor her mother’s health and make sure she was cared for and happy. As her mother’s mental capabilities and faculties began to deteriorate, Vivian remained steadfast, always trying to ensure that she was provided the best quality of life. Vivian gave of herself, her time, her energy, and financial resources, to make this happen. Before Vivian’s’ mother’s condition deteriorated too far, Vivian would make sure she had the appropriate clothes all lined up in plastic boxes with just the right amount of food put together in a simple way for her mother to negotiate. Eventually, her mother was placed in several facilities, each facility had issues with care. Vivian was there and spent many hours making sure her mother was adequately treated. Sometimes even requiring Vivian to take naps sometime before and after the visit at a local Burger King parking lot before driving home. Eventually, her mother was able to find a very good facility that was able to provide adequate and compassionate care at Rex skilled nursing facility. Despite the mental and cognitive decline of her mother, Vivian relished the time spent with her and each enjoyed each other’s company. Miss Ella May Weathers transitioned in only 2018.
It was determined, quite early on, that she was an outstanding resident, and she was chosen to be groomed for the position of Residency Training Director even before finishing her program. She became the first African American female Psychiatry Residency Training Director at East Carolina University.
Vivian and Dwayne met early after she arrived in the residency program and both shared common interests, were able to discuss many issues and became close over time. There was a certain comfort that they gave each other and an ability to strengthen each other. Over time they became closer and eventually married in Las Vegas, Nevada. She enjoyed asking people how much her reception cost because most people assumed it was very expensive. However, to the contrary, it came to a grand total of eleven dollars with In & Out Burger as the venue for the reception of the two.
Their love for one another was affectionately displayed and easy to see when you were in their presence. Together, they traveled extensively in the US and abroad, having the most memorable travel experiences to China and Paris. While vacationing in Paris, they explored the city streets and enjoyed the Sacre Coeur Basilica in the evening. They were taken aback from the Magnitude and beauty of the Eiffel Tower as it glittered in the moonlight.
In 2011, after running hard with work and taking care of her mother, Vivian suffered a major medial illness. She was diagnosed with sepsis, a blood infection resulting in weakening of her organs. She requited hospitalization, amputation of her fifth tow, and a six-weeks course of antibiotics. Vivian was able to improve but not able to resume her rigorous schedule. Over the next several years she continued a gradual physical decline, ultimately leading to her requiring dialysis three times a week. Vivian felt grateful she was able to have in-home hemodialysis and not in-center treatment. This allowed her the comfort of being at home during these several hour treatments.
Despite her medical issues, she continued to enjoy and cherish friends and family. She especially relished the many text pictures sent of Austin and Jude her grand nephews, as well as many other family members. When viewing these pictures, she was filled with joy and showed it with a big smile!
Vivian’s lifelong passion was speaking up for people who experienced misfortune, unfair treatment and those with little or no voice to express themselves. This was true whether the misfortune was self-inflicted or due to external situations.
Vivian was able to assist many people with deep issues both professionally and outside the professional realm through her compassion, empathy, listening and utilizing her unique life experiences. She enjoyed spending time with family and friends, especially at her home celebrating all the holidays, throughout the year, including Ground Hog’s Day. She even mailed decorations as far away as California so her niece and nephew wouldn’t miss a chance to celebrate!
The biggest joy of her life was always her husband, Dwayne. She loved Dwayne with an everlasting love. And Vivian loved her family deeply, and her family loved her.
She was always concerned with what nice thing could be done to bring smiles and joy into the world.
Vivian leaves to celebrate her life, her husband Dr. Dwayne Bryant, three sisters, Rev. Deborah Speakes from Philadelphia, Pa., Mrs. Rita Mason (Maurice) Richmond, Kentucky; The Honorable Denise Bentley from Louisville, Kentucky and Glenn Bryant her brother-in-law (Allison), eight nephew and two nieces; Jamal Speakes (Bernadette) William Robinson (Kristie), Michael Robinson (Brandy) Jeremiah Speakes (Toya), Maurice Mason III (Beth), Candice Bentley, Marcus Bentley, Dr. James Mason (Vivian), Kerrie Bryant, Blake Bryant. Three maternal Aunts; Mrs. Ruth Johnson, Reading, Pa.; Ms. Shirley Jackson, Harrisburg and Mrs. Tina Jackson, Reston, Virginia. Fifteen great nieces and nephews; Ashely Miller, Sharar Speakes, Amber Robinson, Dymond Robinson, Jamal Speakes Jr., Michael Robinson Jr., Hazel Speakes, Aleyah Bentley, Jade Robinson, Zander Mason, Ezekiel Robinson. Four great nieces and one great nephew; Jayceon Miller, Camerie Fishback, Callie Miller, Maaliyah Martin and Lillian Mason.
God Family; Fatemanicole Barden, Lenox Hudson Barden, Dallas Barden-Mangum.
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