Oliver Wayne Sadberry Jr.

oliver sadberry

March 15, 1943 ~ January 11, 2022

Born in: Bryan, Texas
Resided in: Bryan, Texas

Oliver Wayne Sadberry, Jr., son of O.W. Sadberry, Sr., and Sylvia (Sealey) Sadberry, was born in Bryan, Texas, March 15, 1943. After elementary school, his parents sought to send their son to a military high school, but he was not allowed to attend segregated Allen Military Academy in Bryan. Instead, he attended St. Emma Military Academy in Powhatan, VA, where he excelled in electronics and graduated high school with honors.

In the U.S. Air Force, Sadberry was member of Strategic Air Command. In 1971, he graduated from Texas A&M University and traveled with the National Science Foundation-funded Polar Research Project to the Antarctic. From 1975 until 1984, he was Assistant Executive Director for Human Services at Brazos Valley Development Council and Area Agency on Aging. Social advocate and civic leader, Sadberry became a driving force for historical collection and archival preservation of fading legacies. Contributor to the 2012 Bryan Blues Festival Book, celebrating area “Blues” history, Sadberry was a talented jazz saxophonist.

Sadberry’s passion for family history dates back to 1979, working on The Sadberry Family Album, inspired by his great aunt, Sedalia (Sadberry) Williams. In 1981, for his publication, with the help of his wife and daughter, Sadberry secured a U.S. Copyright Seal that placed him among the elite U.S. family historians, leading to an eventual 16-year professional role at the Brazos Valley African American Museum (BVAAM) as curator, historical researcher, exhibition designer, oral historian, media spokesperson, acquisitions director, educational events coordinator, and collections and special programs manager. When Sadberry compiled the exhibition commemorating the City of Bryan’s 150th Anniversary, which opened May 7, 2016, he said his aim was to guarantee the inclusion of the contributions made by African Americans to the development of Bryan. He contributed oral history about his father to the effort.

In his BVAAM role and participation on the City of Bryan’s Carnegie History Center Committee, Brazos Valley Speaks (BVS), Sadberry worked with national organizations—George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum, Smithsonian in Washington DC; National Endowment for the Humanities; regional and state historical societies, such as TAMU Cushing Library and University of Texas Briscoe Center—engaging Bryan citizens in history and bringing to them multidisciplinary exhibitions, educational opportunities and multicultural experiences. In 2021, his health forced his departure from BVAAM. In 2020, however, Sadberry had already assembled a team to assist in his most ambitious venture, the Prof. O.W. Sadberry, Sr., Archive, dedicated to his father. He was confident his passion for saving fading legacies would continue when he said, “Once the train leaves the station, there is no turning back.”

Oliver Wayne Sadberry, Jr., died January 11, 2022, at Lampstand Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Bryan, where staff called him their “hero.” In addition to his parents, Sadberry is preceded in death by his sister, Ethel Conchita Sadberry Crenshaw and his daughter, Heather Feronberg, who had assisted him in creating exhibitions until her death January 9, 2019. He is survived by his sister, Dr. Halcyon (Sadberry) Watkins of San Antonio, Texas; his granddaughter, Jaden Twitty, nephew, Anthony Neal, nephew Ed Crenshaw, niece, Shane Watkins, and nephew, Russell Watkins, Sr. Wayne also leaves behind many grieving relatives, friends, colleagues and loyal supporters, who will never let his legacy fade.

Funeral Services for Oliver Wayne Sadberry, Jr., will be held Monday, January 17, 2022, at 11:00 A.M., followed by a reception at Callaway Jones, 3001 S. College Ave., Bryan, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages contributions in memory of Oliver Wayne Sadberry, Jr., either online or mailed to the Brazos Valley African American Museum, 500 E. Pruitt St., Bryan, TX 77803.


Memorial Service: January 17, 2022 11:00 am

Callaway-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Center
3001 S College Ave
Bryan, TX 77801


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  1. I was saddened to learn that Wayne Sadberry had passed away. He was a wonderful person, an advocate for justice, and a civic-minder individual whose departure from this earth will leave a significant void. Truly, Wayne was “one of the good guys.”

  2. I am saddened to hear of Mr. Sadberry’s passing just now. I had the pleasure of talking to him for quite a while last year at the museum, and had the impression that he was an extraordinary human being.

  3. Dearest Sadberry Family,

    My deepest condolences at the loss of Wayne. He was a light in my life that never failed to teach me something new every time I had the honor of visiting with him. I will miss his sweet spirit very much. He is leaving the world a better place.

  4. My sincere condolences. I always told Wayne that they were thinking of him when they used to say “a gentleman and a scholar” , but it described him so well. Downtown Bryan has missed him in recent years, but his impact will be felt for generations. I hope memories of this wonderful man brings peace and joy to all those who mourn his loss

  5. Deep thanks to whoever wrote this wonderful obituary for the exceptional Wayne Sadberry. It is clear I experienced only a tiny fraction of this man’s talents and capabilities. I have fond memories of his sax jamming with Ken Appelt or Dick Costas after Sunday AM services at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley. He was a quiet, unassuming man who never let on about his many accomplishments in life, other than promoting the BVAAM. Oliver Wayne Sadberry, Jr., has clearly left on impact on his community that few of us can match. God speed, Wayne– we will miss you.

  6. One thing I remember about my cousin was his sweet disposition, Witt, and his smile and how he would say my name and hug me when he saw me. Kind people seem to have a twinkle in their eye and smile when they are excited to see you again. I anticipate that look when he is resurrected according to my hope in Mt6:28,29 which says in part’ there will be a
    Resurrection of both righteous and unrighteous( those who did not have chance to learn about God before their death)!’Untill then I know my family and his dear sister has pain of heart,
    But nothing will compare to the joy of seeing him heathy again, will impart(Job 33:25). Stay hopeful family(Acts 24:15). Love you.

  7. My condolences go out to the family. I didn’t know Mr Sadberry very well but I had the opportunity to meet him at his daughter my good friend Heathers service and he greet me and asked me who I was and I told him and he was very nice and especially under the circumstances. Mr Sadberry will be missed and again. My sincere condolences to the family.

  8. To Wayne’s family
    We the Campbell Smith families are so sorry for your loss. Our prayer is that God will give all of you comfort strength and peace during this time. Hallie, Shane and Russell we love you and we share with you during this time.

  9. The Lampstand Nursing and Rehabilitation administrative team and nursing staff would like to send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Sadberry. It was a pleasure and honor to have met him. Thank you for allowing our facility to care for him.

  10. I am so sad to learn of Wayne’s death. I served with him many years on the Brazos County Historical Commission. He was always so kind, patient, gracious, and knowledgeable, as well as quick to hug me! Although he didn’t always say much, when Wayne talked, people listened. He offered invaluable information regarding the history of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church when I was digging for documentation. The information he furnished led to the discovery of old parish records, and the awarding of a Texas Historical Marker, which should be installed in the next year or so. If everyone were like Wayne, the world would be a wonderful place.

  11. I only met Wayne once and that was just recently in his last months when his health was weak. But, I perceived from the brief conversations that we had, that he was full of life; that he had had a very fulfilling life. I wish he would have had the strength that day to have shared the stories of his life with me. I want to know people who love people and want to share their knowledge and experiences with others to help them. Wayne seemed to have been one of those. God bless him. And to Halcyon and the family, I pray you receive God’s peace that passes all understanding. Love and prayers.

  12. Wayne was an amazing man. He will be remembered by many people in our community for all he accomplished to make it a better place to live. May he serve as a model for the rest of us.

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