Patricia A. Bridgewater

July 1, 1947 - June 13, 2022

Patricia Ann Orde Bridgewater 1947~2022
It was 1946, and “good” unmarried girls did not get pregnant. However, Pat’s birth mother found herself totally in love with a handsome Nova Scotia, Canada, professional baseball player; and he returned the feelings. When he learned a baby was on the way, he wanted to marry her; but Pat’s maternal grandmother would not allow it because his mother (born in Damascus) could not speak English. Thus began the intrigue. Not even Pat’s maternal grandfather knew of her existence.

Her birth mother was given another name – one with a MRS. in front of it – and sent away to the NW part of the province to await Pat’s appearance. Pat arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia, at 12:01 a.m. on Canada Day, July 1, 1947. An adoption had already been arranged with her birth grandmother’s brother in the United States, and she was kept hidden until it was time for her grandmother to take her to Missouri. Pat was put in a wicker basket, and her grandmother took round-about routes in order to avoid contact with her grandfather’s cousin who was a customs agent. Finally, they boarded a train to Pineville, Missouri. Six weeks later her proud new parents moved to Tulsa because they wanted her to have a good education and other advantages that a city had to offer.

Pat had the best of both worlds. Her new dad had taken a job as the caretaker of an oil millionaire’s estate two miles from downtown Tulsa. She could roam anywhere she wanted on the 27 acres and still be not over fifteen minutes from anything the city had to offer. She attended all the old schools – Lee Elementary, Horace Mann Junior High, and Tulsa Central High School. In 1969 she graduated the University of Tulsa with a teaching degree and a husband who, unfortunately, had other interests.

In 1968, they moved to Miami, OK, where he had taken a teaching position at NEO A & M College; and, after graduation, she was hired as a Reading/Journalism teacher at Will Rogers Junior High until, seven years later, she transferred to Nichols Elementary where she taught fourth grade for 21 years.
God held her together during a lot of emotionally rough years, and the teaching helped keep her mind focused. Pat did not like the politics of education, but she loved her “kids.” In 1980, she earned her master’s degree and enough of a salary increase to be able to say good-by the following January to the one who had brought her to Miami and to leave him to his own lifestyle choices.

Finally, on June 4, 1983, after a couple of years of on-again, off-again dating, Pat married the carpenter, Jerry Bridgewater. On November 22, 1984, their son, J.R., was born. Although he was her only biological child, she was more than blessed to add the carpenter’s kids and grandkids – and even some of those were not “blood.” Their family was comprised of people who declared relationships that no one could break. There was a lot of love – sometime a lot of frustration – but mostly there was a lot of love during their 35 years of marriage!

Eventually, Pat’s health decreased to the point of no longer being able to teach. She retired in 1997 and spent a few years learning to deal with her issues. Thankfully, Jerry, wo had also retired, started singing in a gospel group; so, she attended their concerts and learned to run the sound system. It was a blessing for both of them.
When Pat’s heath issues went into temporary remission in 2012, she began working a couple of hours a day at KGLC-FM and KVIS-AM radio stations. She said it was a good way to start a day. Jerry said she had stolen his job.

During their years together, she and Jerry had to bid good-bye to his mother, her parents, and eight of his nine brothers and sisters. They buried one of his brothers just six weeks before her mother went to Heaven. Twelve days after that funeral, Jerry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s; but he was a fighter, and they were in the fight together until his death on August 5, 2018.
Pat is survived by her son, J.R., her stepdaughters Karen Rice and Marilyn Cummings, and her stepsons Tony Freeze and Rusty Cummings, ten grandchildren, ten great grandchildren and on great-great grandchild plus numerous other family members and friends. Pat did not like the term “step” in describing her “kids;” but, for the sake of genealogy, it is included here.