Magalen Ohrstrom “Maggie” Bryant, a Loudoun County entrepreneur, philanthropist, horse breeder and conservationist died June 28 at her farm in Middleburg. She was 92.
Bryant’s influence spanned myriad sectors — including to the thoroughbred horse racing world, environmental conservation. She was even one of the founders of the Dulles Greenway.
“She was the visionary and the driving force behind the Greenway,” said Dulles Greenway spokesman Terry Hoffman.
Hoffman said her vision was to build a road between the Dulles Airport and Leesburg which would therefore prevent development in Middleburg, where she lived for more than 50 years.
“One of her friends approached her to invest in the Greenway and that is how she got involved,” he said.
The construction of the privately owned 14-mile, $326 million Dulles Greenway began in 1991 and opened to traffic four years later. Hoffman said Bryant oversaw the project and made it a priority to hire minorities and women.
“There were 500 people who were collecting unemployment checks before they started working for the project,” he said.
As a conservationist, Bryant ensured the construction did not affect Goose Creek by not allowing piers to go into the water.
Bryant stayed involved with the Dulles Greenway until it was sold in 2005, Hoffman said.
“Many people do not realize it was a local family that built and maintained ownership of the Greenway for over 10 years,” he said.
Her 2,400 acre farm in Middleburg, Locust Hill Farm, is where she bred trophy-winning horses and raised herds of cattle. She also owned stables in France where she was a powerful presence in the world of steeplechasing, according to her obituary. She was inducted into the Virginia Steeplechase Hall of Fame in 2014.
Doug Fout, a horse trainer and president of Middleburg Spring Race Association, said Bryant was his mother’s best friend, with the two growing up together.
“She loved her horses and watched them train,” Fout told the Times-Mirror. “She was very generous and always willing to give them for different uses after they retired from racing.”
“She was very kind. People from all around the world will miss her dearly,” he said.
He added, “It was a generation of great people who loved the horse world and loved the game for what it was and the people that took care of the horses. Now that generation is gone.”
Bryant was a founding member of the Delta Environmental Land Trust, a board member and chair of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from 1994 to 2000 and was also a Director of National Wildlife Federation. She was one of the first landowners to place many of her land holdings in conservation easements, according to her obituary.
She leaves behind five children — Magalen C. Webert, W. Carey Crane III, Michael R. Crane, Kristiane C. Graham and John C.O. Bryant, ten grandchildren and four great grandchildren.