Jake Bridgwater, 79, of Bowie, died Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Bowie.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 9, at the First Baptist Church of Bowie, with Mike Henson and Darrell Brown officiating. Burial will will be in Salona Cemetery near Bowie under the direction of White Family Funeral Home of Bowie.
Mr. Bridgewater was born on Jan. 9, 1933, in Vashti to Fred and Iva Bridgewater. The family moved to Bowie shortly after his birth. At the age of 9, he contracted Osteomyelitis and fell quite ill. The Masonic Lodge in Bowie arranged for an ambulance to carry him to Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. He remained in the hospital for three years and endured 13 surgeries. The doctors did not expect him to walk or again or much less play sports. When he returned to Bowie to continue his education in the Bowie Public Schools, he proved the doctors wrong. While in high school he participated in football, basketball, and baseball. He played on the Bowie Jackrabbits basketball team that won the state champions three years in a row in 1951, 1952 and 1953. Jake graduated in 1953 and enrolled in the University of North Texas in Denton. He married Jean Richardson in 1956, and in 1957 they began teaching in Bowie. He taught science and coached at Bowie Junior High. He continued to teach and coach at Bowie Junior High and Bowie High School. In 1974, he was named the assistant principal at Bowie High School and served in that role until 1994 when he became the principal of Bowie Primary. He retired after 39 years of service in Bowie Public Schools in 1997. He was a 50-year member of the Bowie Masonic Lodge and a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church where he served a deacon and Sunday school teacher. He raised horses and cattle.
He is preceded in death by sisters Elizabeth Tucker Whatley, Francile Hooks and LaNell Hall, and a brother, Horace Bridgewater who was killed while serving in World War II.
He is survived by his wife, Jean Bridgwater of the home; two daughters, Tammy Brown and husband Darrell of Grapevine, and Julie Henderson and husband Steve of Wichita Falls; and five grandchildren.
The family will be at the First Baptist Church of Bowie fellowship hall from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 8.
Memorials can be made to the Student Scholarship Fund at the First Baptist Church of Bowie, 307 Lindsay St., Bowie, Texas 76230.