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
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
Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame
ERLE H. BRIDGEWATER, JR. (DECEASED)
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
• 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