|Birth: ||Apr. 2, 1938|
|Death: ||Aug. 21, 2010|
St. Joseph County
Dr. Norman V. Bridges
April 2, 1938 - Aug. 21, 2010
MISHAWAKA - Norman V. Bridges, Ph.D., 72, passed away in his home on Saturday morning, August 21, 2010. He is survived by wife, Janice, and three sons, now married, David (a Friends Church senior pastor) and Rochelle (Randall, Deidre, Audra and Ashley) of Friendswood, TX; Jonathan (an attorney) and Debbie of Dallas, TX; and Dan (a Missionary Church district executive) and Renee (Melanie and Allison), in Goshen, IN.
An M.B.A. class once asked Bridges to identify his proudest achievement. He immediately spoke of his family and their faith.
He is also survived by brother, Phillip (Leona) Bridges, and sisters, Phyllis Jean Robbins, Faith (Harold) Knight and Joyce (Rob) Swartz.
Bridges was born on April 2, 1938, in Wooster Corners, MI, the son of the Reverend Guy and Nellie Bridges, and grew up as the oldest of five children in a series of parsonages. The family's frequent moves depended upon the annual whims of the Mennonite Brethren in Christ/United Missionary Church Michigan Conference Stationing Committee.
Bridges ultimately graduated from Flint Northern High School in 1956 where he won academic honors as the top male in his class and conference championships in wrestling and debate.
Bridges married Janice Stephey in 1959 while they were still students at Bethel, then taught high school in Indiana and Michigan, going on to earn an M.A. in American Studies (1966) and a Ph.D. in Higher Education (1970) from the University of Michigan. Janice graduated from Bethel in 1961 and later earned an M.S. from Friends University, becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and counseling in the Bethel College Wellness Center until their retirement.
Norman V. Bridges, Ph.D., guided Bethel College during a remarkable and record-breaking 15-year (1989-2004) presidency. His presidency was Bridges's third stint on the campus. He had graduated from Bethel with a B.A. in English Education magna cum laude in 1960, returning next to serve variously as dean of students, professor of history and education, and as vice president for administration (1966-1976). He was named Alumnus of the Year in 1975. Bridges will be remembered for his extraordinary years as president of Bethel. The annual operating budget increased from under $3 million to over $30 million. The school more than tripled in enrollment to some 1,850 students. Over 40 academic programs were added, with innovative majors such as sign language interpreting. The rising academic reputation boosted Bethel from fourth to first-tier rankings in U.S. News & World Report. For years Bridges simultaneously lent his wisdom and energetic leadership to numerous other church and civic organizations, including the Rotary Club of Wichita, the Kiowa County Hospital, the Mid-America Yearly Meeting of the Friends Church, the Salvation Army, the South Bend Symphony, the Missionary Church, the Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County, the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, and the Independent Colleges of Indiana.
Upon retiring from Bethel, Bridges was cascaded with honors, from the first Festschrift ever compiled for a Bethel academic, to "Sagamore of the Wabash" by Governor Joe Kernan of Indiana, to President Emeritus of Bethel. Bridges was known for his lively wit and varied interests. He was widely read, deeply engaged in each of his many communities, a shrewd observer of human character and public affairs and, for many years, an avid athlete. As a musician, Bridges had a special fondness for the trombone, which he played, as well as for choirs, men's ensembles and hymns. Services celebrating the life of Norman Bridges will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 25th, in the Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center, Bethel College. Graveside services will follow at Fairview Cemetery, Mishawaka. The family will receive guests from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday in the Rotunda of the Everest-Rohrer Fine Arts Center.
Gifts to the college may be designated to the Dr. Norman V. Bridges Memorial Fund. The Palmer Funeral Home-River Park Chapel, South Bend, is serving the Bridges family. Online condolences to the family may be sent to www.palmerfuneralhomes.com. Published in South Bend Tribune on August 23, 2010
St. Joseph County
Created by: Scabbardfish
Record added: Aug 22, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 57495912