Funeral services for Richard "Rick" Leroy Bridge, age 83, of Hay Springs, NE will be at 10:00 AM on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the United Methodist Church in Hay Springs with Terry Bridge officiating.
Burial with Military Honors will be at the Hay Springs City Cemetery.
A memorial has been established for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Donations may be sent to Chamberlain Drabbels Mortuary, PO Box 443, Hay Springs, NE 69347.
Richard passed away on September 3, 2017 at Pioneer Manor Nursing Home in Hay Springs. He was born on February 20, 1934 at his home in Page, NE to James Bridge and Almira (Harvey) Bridge, the youngest of seven children. At the age of 1, his family moved to a farm in Spencer, NE, where they lived for the next eight years until the family returned to Page. Richard attended grade school in Spencer through the 8th grade and continued working on the family farm until he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1953.
Richard’s basic training occurred at Camp Chaffee, AR, and he was then stationed at Molesworth Air Base in England with the SCARWAF Battalion. Following his discharge in June 1955, he worked for his brother-in-law Harlan Larsen on their ranch at Marsland during the haying season. He then went back to O’Neill and worked at EBys Conoco station. The next four years were spent working for Charles Marcy on his ranch southeast of Hay Springs. With several of his brothers and sisters also residing in the area, Florence, Floyd, Don and Goldie, Richard chose to remain in Northwest Nebraska.
Richard worked for Jerry Lukens at the Standard Station and for Northwest Rural Public Power District as a lineman. During this time, he met and subsequently married Patsy (Johnson) on July 31, 1960 in the old Methodist Church in Hay Springs. They set up their first home in the Alcorn Apartments in Hay Springs where they welcomed Morgan Kay and Terry Ray to their family.
In 1964, they purchased the LaForrest Willis acreage south of Hay Springs and the next few years were spent landscaping, remodeling and improving the property and welcoming the addition of Kirby Lee. Fond memories included building the garage, a favored cow named Mrs. Moo, their first registered Yorkshire hogs, and a cantankerous Shetland pony named Queenie.
In 1970, the family moved south of Hay Springs to the Flora Hagedorn place where Richard began his farming and ranching activities. Wendy joined the family in 1971 and was often seen with her Dad, his little blonde-headed tag-a-long. Richard enjoyed his farm immensely and was generally found outside involved with projects, working on equipment and taking care of his cattle. The family farm created many fond memories for the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Richard was involved with many other activities including: serving for 6 years on the Northwest Rural Board of Directors, serving on the Sandridge School Board, doing electrical work for people on a part-time basis, and being an active member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Richard thoroughly enjoyed his part-time work reading meters for Northwest Rural Public Power and driving the countryside of Western Nebraska. He also enjoyed the many conversations he had with the people he met along the way. He also had a love of WWII history, demonstrated by his extensive book and movie collection and the in-depth knowledge he held of this time period. He was also very proud of his son Terry, daughter-in-law Dea and two of his grandsons who served and continue to serve in the military. Richard enjoyed leather-working and made many wonderful and original leather products for family, friends and customers. He also enjoyed wildlife management and hunting, a trait he passed on to his children and grandchildren.
Many fond memories and wonderful stories are centered on hunting seasons, making homemade ice cream with ice from the tank, meals by Grandpa consisting of peanut butter, butter and crackers and s’mores, riding four wheelers in the pasture, snipe hunting and playing with his grandchildren, whom he thoroughly enjoyed. He is fondly remembered and greatly missed, after losing his battle with Alzheimer’s.
Richard is preceded in death by parents James and Almira; Patsy’s parents Jim and Hazel Johnson; sisters Florence (Viggo) Claussen and Goldie (Harlan) Larsen; brothers Floyd, Don, and Bob; and nieces Nancy (Bridge) Seiders and Linda (Bridge) Cowger.
Celebrating Richard’s life are wife Patsy; children Terry (Dea) Bridge, Morgan Bridge, Kirby (Kathy) Bridge and Wendy (Rodney) Chasek; grandchildren and great- grandchildren Patric (Jessica) Bridge and Evelyn and Aaron, Brendan and Kole Bridge, Kelsey, Kalli and Kinzie Bridge, Ryan (Andrea) Westlake, Lacy (Travis) Johnson, Bo Westlake, Kyle (Jesse) and Brynli and Karson Westlake, and Tyler Westlake; sisters-in-law Phyllis and Elnora Bridge; brothers-in-law Joe (Butch) Johnson and Jim (Gladys) Johnson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Chamberlain Drabbels Mortuary is in charge of arrangements for Richard "Rick" Leroy Bridge.