Jasper “Jack” Edwin Bridgewater passed away August 20, 2023, at his home in Raymond, Washington. He was 98 years of age at the time of passing.
Jack was born July 11, 1925, in Townsend, Montana to George and Ruby (Reames) Bridgewater. He attended Townsend schools with his three-legged dog as a companion. Jack was quite a storyteller and had many tales about his upbringing in Montana.
He knew at an early age that he wanted to be a Marine. When he turned 18, he signed up. He trained in San Diego, went to Sitka, Alaska, then entered the war in the Pacific as a communication engineer. He was a member of the Sixth Marine Division, which received a Presidential Unit Citation. He fought in the battle of Sugar Loaf Hill on Okinawa, one of the
fiercest battles of the war. He received a purple heart and was awarded a bronze star for his combat efforts.
After the war, he went to Raymond Washington, to join his parents and grandparents who had relocated. The summer of 1948, he returned to Montana to propose to his childhood sweetheart, who actually accepted though they hadn’t seen each other in two years. On September 18, 1948, he married Myra Margaret Holling in Raymond.
Jack started logging with his Dad in 1948 when they started Bridgewater Logging Company. Heran several trap lines and started his mink ranch in the early 1950’s. Though the father/son partnership didn’t work out, BLC was reinstated in 1957 with Jack and a team of horses. In the early 1970’s, his son, George, joined the family business and took it over in 1990.
Upon retirement, Jack and Myra went back to Townsend, Montana where they bought a ranch. He added buffalo, elk, donkeys and even a zebra to his herd. His goal was to raise trophy elk whose horns would be used for medicinal purposes. When that market dried up, he turned to sponsoring game hunters on the ranch. With concerns over wildlife diseases, Montana passed legislation that shut down the game farms. Jack and Myra returned to Raymond in 2006.
Jack was an avid hunter and fisherman. He hunted in most Western states, British Columbia, the Yukon, Alaska and even Russia. While in Montana, he met some hunters who got him interested in Africa. He and Myra made many trips to Africa where they developed a great love and respect for the people, the terrain, and the animals living there.
Upon return to Raymond, Jack settled with Myra on a farm outside of Raymond. He enjoyed feeding his cows until a couple of accidents made it difficult to move freely. However, his tales of all his adventures continued to entertain family and friends.
Jack lived a full life and was loved and respected by many. His father George, mother Ruby, sisters Grace Marguerite “Peggy” and Doris Myrtle preceded him in death as well as his infant son Christopher Fane Bridgewater. He is survived by daughters Beverly Bridgewater, Billie Jean Bridgewater, son George Bridgewater and wife Patti, step-son Gene Holling; Grandchildren Cassie Cron Merrin and husband James, Matt Cron and wife Tracy, Aaron Goodin, Jerod Goodin and wife Paule, Nicole Bridgewater Price and husband Ben, and Jack Bridgewater; Great-grandchildren Brianne Goodin, Colton Nussbaum, Sofiya Cron, Georgia Goodin, Millie Goodin, Knox Goodin, Claire Merrin and Declan Price.
He was blessed with caregivers the past few years, and he truly enjoyed each of them. Special thanks to Carrie, Travis, Tina, and Vicki who became part of the family with their care, concern and conversation. They were part of Jack’s final journey, and there was never a dull moment.
Private services will be held at a date to be decided. For those wanting to make a contribution in Jack’s honor, please do so to your favorite charity or organization.