Nathan Bridges: a Memorial

Nathan Bridges

In Memoriam

This page is in memory of Nathan Otis Bridges, January 15, 1933–January 18, 2010. We encourage people who knew Nathan to submit photos, stores, or comments. We will add them to the site once they are received.

Obituary

Nathan O. Bridges, 77, of Waldorf, Md. died of colon cancer Jan. 18, 2010, at Civista Medical Center, La Plata, Md.

Born Jan. 15, 1933, in Knoxville, Tenn., he was the son of the late Milford Otis Bridges and the late Ada Heatherly Bridges.

Mr. Bridges grew up in the Knoxville area, graduating from Karns High School. From boyhood, he loved things mechanical and he won prizes in car design while in high school. He served in the U.S. Air Force for several years, returned to civilian life and graduated from Louisiana College in 1966. He had trained as a pilot and loved flying small planes. He came to the Washington, D.C., area in 1977 and retired from the Air National Guard in 1989. In retirement, he established Nathan’s Home Repair and worked as a handyman, carpenter and craftsman. He attended Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Camp Springs for 17 years and his handiwork can be seen there as well as in the homes of the many he helped. He took pride in the achievements of his family.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Leamon Bridges; and sister, Mable Kline.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia Bridges of Waldorf, Md.; sisters, Marjorie Oliver and Iris Guinn; brother-in-law, Neil Oliver of Knoxville, Tenn.; daughter, Barbara Bridges; grandsons, Ian Cahill and Zeal Jagannatha of Baltimore, Md.; stepchildren, E. Jay and Robyn Berkenbilt of Annandale, Va., Naomi Berkenbilt and James Stetina; and granddaughter, Rachael Stetina of Baltimore, Md.

Donations

Memorial contributions may be made to Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church, 7400 Temple Hill Road, Camp Springs, MD 20748 or Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, 1249 Fifth Ave., Suite 907, New York, NY 10029.

Photo Gallery

There is a Photo Album on Flickr.

Slide Presentation

Here you can download the slide presentation from the memorial service in two formats: regular 4×3 screen size and 8×5 wide screen format. Please note: you should use “Save Link As” (usually available by right-clicking on the link) to download these and actually save the files. If you let the browser open them, they probably won’t display as slide shows. When you open the saved file with Adobe Reader, it will ask you whether you want to let it run in full screen mode. You will need to allow it to run in full screen mode in order for it to operate as a slide show. You can download Adobe Reader from Adobe’s Web Site if you don’t already have it.

Poem

Still Here
We think If the ways They are ours
We have They were In many ways
The people we have Become As long as
For as long The ways we are We want them
As we want them Then they are Or need them
Or as long Still here And love them
As we need them
And if they are We love them
They are ours Still here In many ways
And we do In some ways And they strengthen us
What we do They are here Just as long as
With little thought Always We keep them
About their place For as long as we act In ways that matter
Or their time In the ways
They showed us And when
We think We keep them
We have They showed us In ways that matter
The people we have Brightness We honor
For as long And joy The ways
As we like And love That made them special
Or as long And other
As there is Great things And they are
Still special
They are ours And the Just as they were
We are theirs Great things And they are
And then Remind us that Still here
They are gone Our people
Are ours
Yet while In new ways
They are gone
In some ways
They are not gone By Michael/Mike Williams
In all ways 2010

Tribute from Jessica Milstead: Remembering Nathan

Who was Nathan Bridges? To me he was so many things—Nat was an artist in wood. The beautiful curves and proportions in his woodwork in Davies’ sanctuary remind me of him whenever I’m there. He chose woods that are simple, but beautifully harmonized. He will live on in this work for many years.

He was a kind and gentle man, always thoughtful of others. His smile really did light up the day. For many years, on chilly days I knew if Nat was at Davies by the cheery warmth of the fire he always lit in the fireplace.

His beautiful voice helped to carry the choir. When we lost Dick Wilcox, Nat found the courage to be the one who started us on our sung benediction each Sunday. I especially appreciated Nat’s leadership because he started it in a high enough key that I could sing it with ease.

And he loved the yard of the home he shared with Ginny. He and I had many shared hours of pruning and shaping the plantings. We didn’t always agreed precisely at first, but we could always reach an accommodation—and if sometimes he was just pretending to agree with me, I know he figured he could just let the shrub grow back the way he really wanted it.

He loved the home, too. Finishing off the rooms in the basement gave him many happy hours of doing the kind of work he loved best, with his hands. It had to be right, but he had the ability to make it right, and produce beautiful handiwork that was a joy to see.

And, very importantly, he was half of the personality I think of as Ginny-and-Nat. If ever two people were soul mates, these two were. To me they were very special in another way. Not many couples reach out in friendship to a single woman, but Ginny-and-Nat were my friends. Ginny invited me to stay in their home after my shoulder surgery, and when she had to go to a professional meeting, Nat watched over me with great care until I could safely go home. They shared their week in Williamsburg, and visiting the area with them was an experience I shall always remember. Of course Ginny and I are good friends, but I will also remember the Ginny-and-Nat friendship.

Nathan Bridges will live as long as there is anyone alive to remember him—his shy smile, his little chuckle when something amused him, his singing voice, his skill with his hands, his conciliatory attitude backed up by firm determination, his courage when he learned his time was going to be limited. I’ll miss you, Nat, for as long as I’m here to remember you.

Tribute from Jennice Cobb Wolfe: Memories of Nathan

I went to school with Nathan and also went to Church with his family at Solway United Methodist Church. I also went to grammer school with him. I recall him makine minatures of the school we attended. He actually counted the bricks across the front and to its height so the minature would be exactly to scale. Also, the teacher we had in third and fourth grades (the school was small and we had two grades in one room) subscribed to a magazine that always had a pretty picture each month for that month and she would give the magazine to Nathan and he would reproduce the picture on the blackboard with colored chalk, sometimes mixing together two or three colors so he would get the correct shade. He also drew the plans for our present church building. He visited there not too long ago with his sister Margie. I always marveled at his talent, especially at such a young age. I surely hope he had a career where he could use this wonderful talent. Except for his attendance at church some time ago I had not seen him since high school. I wish to express my deepest sympathy to you and your family at his passing. I hope a couple of stories about his childhood from a lifetime acquaintance brings a smile to your face.

Jennice Cobb Wolfe, Karns High School Class of 1953