| Bill Hubbard “Papa” Bridges, 82, of West Zion Church Road Shelby died peacefully with his family surrounding him and went “home” Thursday, May 5th, after many years of declining health. Always at his side was his wife, friend, and soul mate of 63 years, Ramona Vassey Bridges. In addition to his wife, he is survived by five daughters Margaret Green and husband Marvin of Rutherfordton NC, Janice Duncan and husband Tommy of Shelby, Lynn Powell of Shelby, Myra Johnson and husband, Bill of Spindale, Billie Downs and husband Gary, “Shake” of Shelby. Eleven grandchildren Minnie Green Caffell and husband Benji of Forest City, Chad Duncan and wife Brooke of Shelby, Farrah Duncan and Patrick Butler of Boiling Springs, NC, Marvin Green Jr. and wife Amie of Wilmington, Travis Powell of Nashville, TN, Ryan Johnson of Mauldin, SC, Jonathan Downs and fiancé Traci Boggs of Shelby, Brandon Powell and wife Nikki of Shelby, Whitney Johnson Abrams and husband Holden of New Bern, Lindsay Powell of Shelby, and Benjamin Hubbard Downs of Shelby. Fifteen great-grandchildren Sam, Rachel and Noah Caffell, Taylor McMahan, Braeden Duncan, Madison and Jude Duncan, Olivia Ramsey, Brylee and Blair Powell, Neveah Young, J’Mya Ross, Charlea Abrams, Elijah Spurling, and Tanner Kirby. Brother J.P. Bridges and wife Jeanette of Shelby, sister Treva Wright and husband Harold of Shelby and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Dewey Hubbard “Coach” and Inez Carter Bridges of the Lily Mill Hill and sister Nellie Jones.
After working for many years as the manager of Baird Furniture Company in Shelby he became the owner in 1976 and remained active until his retirement in 1999. He was a lover of Gospel music and managed his daughters group, the Bridges Sisters, for many years and also sang with the Bridges Family and the Lily Quartet. For many years he participated in the Hopewell Gospel Music Festival in Hopewell, SC, where he was the Master of Ceremonies until his declining health prevented him from doing so. He served as Music director at several areas churches including Second Baptist, Bethel Baptist, Lily Baptist, and Union Baptist. He served as Deacon, member of Finance Committee, Treasurer, member of Pastor Search Committees, Sunday School teacher, and in many other capacities in the churches he attended and served.
He was a member of the Woodmen of the World, a former Optimist, and active in the Cleveland County Senior Golf Association. He loved watching his grandchildren participate in sports and any other endeavor and always expressed unconditional love for each one. He was an avid golfer achieving a hole in one during his life. Loved to garden with his wife and loved annual Labor trips to the beach and weekly Sunday lunches with the family.
A celebration of “Going Home” will be 12:00 Noon on Saturday, May 7, 2011 at Second Baptist Church, Lafayette Street, Shelby, NC. Rev. Marvin Green – son- in-law and Dr. Reginald Dawkins will officiate. Music provided by his daughters and grandchildren as a tribute to the many years he provided support and guidance and modeled the Christian life he desired for all. The family will receive friends after the service from 1-3 pm. Pallbearers are “Chad Boy” Duncan, Marvin Green Jr., Travis Powell, Brandon Powell, Jonathan Downs, Benjamin “Hub” Downs, Benji Caffell and Patrick Butler.
A private family burial will be held. Burial will be at Cleveland Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family request memorials to Hospice of Cleveland County 951 Wendover Heights Drive, Shelby, NC 28150 in memory of our loving husband,