Pastors' Memoirs

Robert Lucius Bridgers, 1921 – 2006

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Dr. Robert L. Bridgers was born March 11, 1921, in Ridgeley, W.Va., to Rev. L.G. Bridgers and Mamie Albright Bridgers. He graduated from Handley High School in Winchester in 1940 as valedictorian. Bob graduated from Shenandoah Junior College in Dayton in 1942 and from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, in 1944, where he received a B.A. degree in Sociology, magna cum laude. He graduated from United Theological Seminary in Dayton in 1947 with a Master of Divinity degree (with honors). He was ordained in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ on Dec. 20, 1947.

In 1947 he married Bonnie Brentlinger in her home church near Dayton. The couple had two children Elwood Brent Bridgers of South Hill and Ruth Elizabeth BridgersEdmonds of Hopewell. The Bridgers family served churches in Cumberland, Md., (a mission church); Keyser, W.Va., (where their children were born); Harrisonburg, (where after the church merger they became United Methodists in 1968); Clifton Forge, and South Hill until 1985 where he retired. In 1978 Bob was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Shenandoah College after having been a member of the Board of Trustees for 25 years.

He lived an active life after retirement. His hobbies included woodworking and singing. Bob and Bonnie led seven tours — to the Passion Play in Germany; to the Holy Land, including Egypt; to the British Isles; to Scandinavia; and to Greece, where they retraced the footprints of St. Paul. He also served as an usher for Crowder-Hite-Crews Funeral Home.

Bob always loved singing. He began singing in church groups in junior high school. While a student at Handley High School in Winchester, he sang in a community choir which represented the state of Virginia at the World’s Fair in New York City. He sang baritone in every church choir where he was the pastor.

While serving Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) churches, Bob was Youth and Camp Director from 1948-1960. As a United Methodist he served on the Board of Directors at Roanoke Retirement Homes; the Virginia Conference Retirement Homes, Inc.; the Board of Virginia Family Services; and the Virginia Conference Board of Pensions. Locally he was active in the Ministerial Association and received a lifetime membership after serving 25 years in the South Hill Lion’s Club. He was also chaplain of the South Hill Firemen and head of volunteer chaplains at Community Memorial Health Center after his retirement in 1985.

Bob loved the pastorate, loved his members and loved preaching. In spite of health problems, which began with tuberculosis when he was a ninth-grader and heart trouble from 1970 on, and many other ailments, he kept his sense of humor — always got the last word. He taught Sunday school classes and conducted Bible studies in each of his churches in addition to conducting two worship services weekly for many years.

Bob’s funeral service was held at South Hill UMC, with burial at Crestview Memorial Park.

— Bonnie Bridgers

 

 

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