BEATRICE "JO" CHRISTINA BRIDGES
DOVER-FOXCROFT - Beatrice "Jo" Christina Bridges, 88, beloved wife of the late Clinton Bridges, passed away April 21, 2002, in Dover-Foxcroft. She was born in Dover South Mills, at the home of her father and mother, Maurice and Mabel (Crockett) Stevens, Nov. 10, 1913. After attending the one-room school at the Mills through the eighth grade, walking one mile each way in the time before the roads were plowed in the winter and muddy in the spring, she attended and graduated from Foxcroft Academy, Class of 1931. During her four years at the Academy, she - as did her three sisters - boarded in town during the week, going home Friday afternoon and returning Sunday evening. She was one of only a small number of her classmates still living at her death. She attended her 60th reunion in 1991, but was unable to attend her 70th last August. She and her husband for many years operated a dairy farm and raised potatoes on their farm in West Dover on what is now the Line Road. It was land previously owned by Clinton's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. It was not unusual for "Jo" to help outside her kitchen on the farm, especially cutting seed for potato planting in the spring, roguing the rows for diseased plants in the summer, and then picking them in the fall, all the while preparing three solid meals on a wood burning stove, as there was no electrical line serving the area at the time. As Clint and his brother-in-law, Elmer Leland, often farmed together, this could mean extra workers to feed in addition to her regular household, especially during threshing and potato picking time. She also made a home for her father-in-law, Will Bridges, until his death in 1947. She hosted many Thanksgiving dinners of the Stevens family over the years. All this was done while finding time to pick wild berries, can meat, vegetables, and fruit, and bake pies, cakes and other homemade foods. Many of these foods were cooked for suppers at the East Sangerville Grange, where she was a long time member, plus holding various offices. She and her husband maintained a garden for many years. "Jo" enjoyed working with the soil to plant vegetables plus flowers, which she used to decorate around her lawn and home. She won blue ribbons for her flower arrangements and single specimens at the fair in Dover-Foxcroft. She always had a great interest in the many birds that came to her feeders and their homes and nests over the years, and knew their names by their colors and songs. She took great pride in keeping her large lawn in excellent condition, and was a familiar sight to passersby, as she would always wave to them while driving her riding lawnmower. Sending cards for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and other occasions was always, for her, a great pleasure, not just to family members, but to neighbors, and folks far away; and she, in turn, felt much joy to receive them in return, especially her get-well cards in recent months. She was always much interested in the young children of her relatives as well as those of her neighbors. She watched them grow up and many times another generation as well. She faithfully remembered their birthdays with cards.
She is survived by a sister, Sylvia Stevens Witherly of Port Charlotte, Fla.; many cousins, many nieces and nephews, who, in their younger days, often spent vacation times at her home, and later, the boys often worked summers on the farm. To them, she was and would always remain more like a second mother and they, in turn, were like her own children. She was predeceased by her husband, who passed away March 29, 1990, after almost 55 years of marriage, as they were wed May 1, 1935; also, four sisters, Dora Stevens Anderson, Lucy Stevens Hall, and Beatrice and Leith Stevens; and a brother, Charles Stevens. Her death means that for the first time in 167 years there is now no resident in the neighborhood with the last name of Bridges, as the first persons with that last name were Joshua Bridges and his family who settled there in 1835. She and Clint were always deeply appreciative of the many kindnesses shown them over the years by their neighbors.
Friends are invited to call 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2002, at the Lary Funeral Home, Dover-Foxcroft, where funeral services will be conducted 1 p.m. Thursday, April 25, with Pastor Mark Stevens officiating. Burial will be in the family lot in Pine Grove Cemetery, Dover South Mills. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, Maine Affiliate, Inc., P.O. Box 346, Augusta 04330-0346.
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