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Erle H. Bridgewater, 84, died Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2003, at his home in Jacksonville, Fla.

Born in Chauncey, Ohio, on March 27, 1919, he was the son of the late Erle Bridgewater Sr. and Ruth Bridgewater.

He completed a degree program at Ohio University in 1939 and then began a law school program at Ohio State University, which was interrupted by World War II. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in June of 1940 and was called to active duty in December of that year. During the war, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division where he attained the rank of Major. He completed forty-seven parachute jumps, including participation in the Normandy and Holland operations, and was awarded the Bronze Star Metal with oak leaf cluster. He was released from active duty in 1945, at which time he returned to law school, earning his Juris Doctor degree in 1946 with the Order of the Coif honor.

While practicing law in Athens for 32 years, ultimately as senior partner in the firm of Bridgewater & Robe, he also served as President of the United Appeal three times, was elected to the Athens City School Board and served for one year as President of the Ohio Bar Association. During this same time, he also served in the Ohio National Guard, organizing the Second Infantry Battalion of the 166th Regimental Combat Team, which he commanded from 1947 until 1958. He was elected President of the Ohio National Guard Association in 1961, and was awarded the Presidential Meritorious Service Medal in 1969. He retired from the National Guard in 1970 with the rank of Brigadier General.

He was active in the Church throughout his life, serving as a Deacon in the Christian Church and assisting several church communities with their building programs. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Rockledge Baptist Church, in Rockledge, Fla.

Surviving are his wife of 62 years, the former Virginia A. McQuade; three sons, Erle Stephen Bridgewater, of Orange Park, Fla., Gregory Bridgewater of Pittsburgh, Penn., and Bradley Scott Bridgewater of Littleton, Colo.; two grandsons and one granddaughter; one great-grandson and one great-granddaughter.

A graveside service will be conducted Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2003, at 11 a.m. at the Osceola Memory Gardens in Kissimmee, Fla., followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m. at the Rockledge Baptist Church, 3420 Murrell Road, Rockledge, FL 32955.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to the Rockledge Baptist Church.

Arrangements by Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home, 1701 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame


Athens, Athens County
United States Army and Ohio Army National Guard Veteran
World War II

Highly decorated veteran of World War II and served with the Ohio Army National Guard, retiring with the rank of Brigadier General
Recognized in Athens for his compassion and interest in many local activities including veterans' affairs and many charitable fund-raising efforts
He spent a lifetime mentoring others while demonstrating devotion and dedication to his family, community and nation
An outspoken advocate of the blessings of citizens of a free nation
Practiced law in Athens for thirty-two years
Served as President of the United Appeal three times and served one year as President of the Ohio Bar Association
Active in his church and served as Deacon
He was recently inducted into the Ohio University Army ROTC Hall of Fame for his work with the cadets


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