(Sylvia) Marie Brown Bridge, 93, passed away Sunday, October 30, 2022 in Grangeville after a period of declining health and a fall. Marie was a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend.
Mom was born at home September 10, 1929 at Mesa, Idaho, near Council. Her mother, Elsie Lawrence Brown, a spirited and adventurous woman, left her home in Scotland at the age of 20, traveled with a friend by ship to America and by train to Montana. The story goes that while alone outside on a ranch, she was being chased by a drunken sheep herder. Elsie met her future husband, the young cowboy, William J. Brown, when he swooped her up on his horse, rescuing her. They courted, married, homesteaded, and had 6 children in Montana, 4 more were born in Idaho. Mom was the 9th and next to last child. (Two siblings died at birth.) She grew up during the Great Depression and World War ll, experiences that shaped her life.
Her childhood home was in Mesa, Idaho, a thriving area of fruit orchards and one of the largest producers of apples in the nation at the time. Mom enjoyed her childhood among the apple trees near the small community. She often commented that the school and families of Mesa were a good example of the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. She felt supported and encouraged by her teachers and neighbors.
Her parents were hard working, growing apples and peaches, a big garden, with a cow to milk and chickens. When she was nine, mom was given the responsibility of walking to the community store with eggs to sell in exchange for other goods and do the shopping. If there was money left over, she was allowed to buy celery, which she liked better than candy!
Mesa had a large two room 1-8 grade school, which was the end of schooling for most. During the war, a bus started taking students to the high school in Council. Mom was so happy to be the first child in her family to graduate from high school!
The summer before her senior year, a friend arranged a blind date. She told Mom the young 20 year old Navy veteran was funny but maybe not too bright. So Mom met Bill Bridge, funny and she discovered, quite bright! By Christmas they were engaged. The apple trees were blooming when they were married May 23, 1948, the same weekend she graduated from high school. They were sweethearts and partners in life the next 74 years. Mom and Dad’s life together was based on deep love, mutual respect, commitment to each other, their family, integrity and hard work.
First child, Peggy Ann, was born in 1950 and their son, Randall William, in 1953. We feel so fortunate to have been born their children!
In the spring of 1955, Mom and Dad moved to Grangeville, built a house and made this community home. Mom’s youngest sister, Marian (Bob) Wikoff moved in next door. These family neighbors provided company, emergency babysitters, love and support over the years.
Dad worked for Wagner Auto before he started his own business. Mom was his bookkeeper and business manager. She also worked in the Child Development Program. Dad’s photography business, especially doing high school senior photos, was her favorite. She loved meeting those kids from all over the Prairie! She remembered them and followed their exploits and life paths as the years passed.
Mom had a positive outlook on life and was an “upper” person. She was wise and helped those who asked her find solutions to their problems. As a mom and grandmother, she was joyful and fun loving. She adored being a grandmother! As a friend and neighbor she was kind, did not gossip, make trouble, or spew hate. She exhibited the Christian virtues of modesty, humility, love for others, forgiveness, hope and faith. She was a member of the First Christian Church and a devoted participant of the prayer chain.
Mom grew up in a family of book lovers and avid newspaper readers. She was the same. A gift of a new book was sure to make her happy. She enjoyed crocheting and made beautiful afghans. Fruit pies and cobblers were her go-to-deserts. Apple pie was her specialty. Many cold afternoons we’d come home from school to the smell of apples and cinnamon.
Mom did have some peculiarities. She had a stubborn streak and when she made up her mind about something, Dad would tell us, “Save your breath!” She was petrified during thunderstorms and suffered high anxiety on roads with steep grades and drop-offs, sometimes getting out and walking!
Marie is survived by her husband Bill at the family home, Peggy (Steve) Woods of Hailey, ID; Randy Bridge of Denver, CO; grandsons Jesse and Jeffrey Woods, Julian and Maxwell Bridge; granddaughters Lexington and Charlotte Woods; sisters-in-law Dorothy and Geraldine Brown, Mildred (Orbie) Bridge, Eloise (Jack) Forwoodson, brother-in-law Bob Wikoff and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mom was the last one of her siblings. It was especially sad for her to lose her younger sister/next door neighbor Marian Wikoff in 2018 and her much loved daughter-in-law, Cyndyn Bridge in 2021. She was also preceded in death by her parents, infant granddaughter Rebecca Woods, sisters Gladys Mason, Margaret Tensin, and Ruth McFadden; brothers John, Alek, and Robert Brown; also her mother and father-in-law Mittie and Elmer Bridge, sisters-in-law Sylvia (Archie) Hughes, Betty Graves; brothers-in-law Darrel and Orbie Bridge.
Services will be announced at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. You may submit a condolence to the family at blackmerfuneralhome.com.