Life Story Visitation
Life Story Service
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
11:00 AM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Burial to follow at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Life Story / Obituary
With a daredevil's spirit, an infectious smile, and the brightest of eyes, James "Jimmy" Bridges lived a life rich in family, friends, and adventure. While he enjoyed pushing the limits, he also knew how to keep a person's confidence. There was no possible way he'd give up a secret he was entrusted to hold. A cherished husband, step-father, grandfather, and friend, Jimmy will long be remembered and ever so missed.
The 1950s were a decade of innovation and celebration. Ray Kroc introduced the nation to McDonalds Restaurants, Billie Holiday and Elvis Presley dominated the radio, Candid Camera brought laughter to our homes each week, and the Chicago Bears became known as the “Monsters of the Midway” under coaching legends George Halas and Paddy Driscoll. It was truly a time of hope and prosperity. Nowhere did hope reign more clearly than in the hearts and home of Noble and Marium Austine (O'Sullivan) Bridges as they welcomed their son, Jimmy, into their family on April 25, 1958 in Talladega, Alabama.
Growing up near Wrigley Field in Chicago, Jimmy and his family were, of course, big Cubs fans and often enjoyed attending games. For Jimmy, that even meant ditching school to catch a game with friends. When he returned home, his parents were waiting with a stern look as they had seen their young Jimmy on TV, sitting in the stands, and happily waiving to the cameras. Jimmy was also a lifelong Bears fan who proudly earned his GED later in life.
As a young adult, Jimmy worked odd jobs in maintenance and painting around Chicago. He enjoyed using his skills to fix, improve, and create spaces and places people enjoyed. He also enjoyed the variety of projects he worked on and the challenges they sometimes presented.
In the mid-nineties, Jimmy had the good fortune of meeting the love of his life. Introduced by a mutual friend, Jimmy and Betty were instantly smitten with one another. She was taken by his pretty blue eyes and sense of humor, and he was hooked by her beautiful smile and laughter. The happy couple married on May 20, 1995, second marriages for both, and celebrated one of the best days of their lives in happy anticipation of sharing the future.
Jimmy and Betty made their home in Lawton, Michigan, where Jimmy continued to paint homes in the area. One of the many gifts marriage gave Jimmy was his step-children and grandchildren. Jimmy relished being a grandpa; his grandkids were his pride and joy. Though he sometimes got the hot sauce out to make them behave when he babysat, he never told their parents if they'd misbehaved, and he loved it when the grandkids poked fun at him. In his eyes, they could never do wrong. With great care and caution, Jimmy comforted and encouraged his grandkids in every possible way. He enjoyed finding just the right gifts for each of them. Whether buying bubble gum, a little treat, or even a gift that arrived a few days after Christmas, his intentionality always ensured their delight. Jimmy was also tremendously proud of Kyle and Jacob serving our country in the U.S. Army.
Jimmy was often the life of the party and inspired a good time wherever he was. He enjoyed Casino trips and playing the slots. Though he'd take a small amount to start with, he often ended up winning. If he wasn't doing well, he'd try to get a bit more from Betty, who'd hide her own extra cash from him. Together, they hosted a lot of cookouts. Everyone was invited and the party never seemed to end. Known for asking people for a light when he needed one, his family was surprised to recently find his favorite recliner was tucked full of lighters. Jimmy loved live music, especially George Jones, and attended many concerts with Betty and family. If he was able to get tickets to a show, nothing kept him from getting to it, even one particularly terrible snowstorm. He was also a natural daredevil who enjoyed the rush of conquering a feat. Once, on a trip to Tennessee, he dove off a quarry. As a result of his years of adventure, Jimmy was no stranger to the bumps and bruises that came with it. Despite the injuries, he beamed with delight. Even when he got mad and puckered his lips, as soon as Betty affectionately called him, "weasel face," he'd begin to lighten up.
Without a doubt, life feels significantly duller and less certain in the absence of Jimmy's bright company. As we mourn the love of the many we so loved, may we find comfort in carrying his legacy forward. With each moment we share with our family and friends, adventure we pursue, concert we attend, belly laugh we share, and slot we pull, we celebrate the many ways Jimmy gifted the world. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
James Bridges of Lawton, age 63, died on November 18, 2021. Jimmy was preceded in death by parents; siblings: Daniel Bridges, Tommy Bridges, Tony Bridges, Sharon Faught, Martha Adams, Linda Bridges, and Mike Bridges. Surviving are his wife, Betty; siblings: Stanley Bridges, David Bridges, Brenda (William) Bunch, and Connie (Dennis) Frey; step-children: Michael Jones and Brenda Jones-Bunch; grandchildren: Kyle (Samantha) Bunch, Jacob (Cara) Bunch, Josh (McKinze) Krumrei, Joshua Krumrei, and Brennan Bradford; great-grandson, Byson Bunch; and numerous nieces and nephews, including Theresa Krumrei whom he helped raised.
Please join us at a Life Story Visitation Monday (NOV 22) 4-6 PM at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M40, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870. A Life Story Service will be held Tuesday (NOV 23) at 11 AM also at the funeral home with burial at Oak Grove Cemetery. Visit Jimmy's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign his guestbook.