Mr. Robert R. Bridge, 95, of Rochester passed away at 8:55 AM on Sunday, November 15, 2020 at Woodlawn Hospital.
On October 14, 1925, Robert Rizer Bridge was born in White County to Harry Albert and Gavis Baer Bridge. He was one of four children, sharing his childhood with a sister and two brothers. Bob graduated with the class of 1943 from Royal Center High School.
Following high school, patriotism beckoned and Bob answered the call serving in 325th Glider Infantry, 82nd Airborne during World War II from November 1943 thru January 1946. His service stints included duty in England, Holland, Belgium, France and Germany. Bob fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium; Battle of Ruhr Valley, Germany and occupation duty following war in Berlin, Germany.
On January 23, 1947, Bob and Martha C. Weddle were married in Johnson County. After 30 years of marriage she passed away.
In Rochester, on March 31, 1978, Bob and Carol J. Coplen were married. They have shared 42 years of life’s adventures.
A scientist and expert in livestock reproduction, Bob was active in cattle artificial insemination and semen sales for nearly forty years before selling his business, Genetics Plus, Inc. in January of 1991. Bob and Carol were both active in district and state Holstein activities through 1994. Both were named honorary life members of the Indiana Holstein Association in 1990.
Bob was active in politics, government and played a vital role with the Democrat Party from grassroots, state and national levels. He served on the Rochester Water Board; Fulton County Council 1974-77; Rochester City Board of Public Works & Safety 1992-1995. Bob was Area 5 Older Hoosier of the Year 1998 and a delegate to Governor’s Conference on Aging. He was named one of 16 Hoosiers of the Year, honored by Gov. Frank O’Bannon, Oct. 1998. Bob was appointed to Fulton County Election Board 1999 through 2005. He was a member of Congressman Joe Donnelly’s Veterans Advisory Committee 2006-2012. In 2016 Bob was recognized as Democrat Man of the Year.
Community service and volunteerism was another forte’ of Bob through his work with the Rochester Lions Club; Fulton County Historical Society, R.S.V.P and other local agencies.
Bob’s memberships include First Christian Church of Rochester, Moose Lodge; a life member of both American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars; Rochester Lions Club; Honorary Life Member of Indiana Holstein Association; Rochester/Lake Manitou Chamber of Commerce, 325th Glider Infantry Association and 82nd Airborne Association. Secretary of 325th GIR 1998-2017, Sgt of Guard for military funerals- American Legion and VFW. Member of Fulton County Veterans Honor Guard until 2017. He was a member of the Ft Wayne Honor Flight to Washington D.C. in April 2016.
Bob served 1978-2004 on Fulton County Housing Authority Board of Directors; 8 years on Four County Mental Health Board of Directors; Fulton County Draft Board (‘60’s- Vietnam War). He worked with United Ministries Christmas Basket Program and was awarded a Life Membership to American Legion Post 36. Bob received American Legion 40 & 8 service award in 1995. In December 1998 named Honorary Chef de Gare by Voiture 729 (2nd such award in 74-year history of Voiture) and Chef de Gare 2004-2005. He was presented the pinnacle award in Lionism, the Melvin Jones Award in 1996-97 by Rochester Lions Club. Bob was named recipient of 1998 Community Service Award by Rochester & Lake Manitou Chamber of Commerce.
Left to cherish Bob's memory are his wife Carol, two children, Stephen Bridge and wife Catherine of Indianapolis, Nancy Waggoner and husband Ted of Rochester; four granddaughters, Gretchen Anderson and husband Scott of Brownsburg, Jeanette Habing and husband Philip of Carmel, Theresa and My-Linh Bridge of Indianapolis; three step-grandchildren, Annie Dust and husband Silas, Joseph Lutholtz all of Indianapolis, Thomas Lutholtz of Wisconsin; step great-granddaughters, Harper and Cecilia Dust of Indianapolis, Isabella Gabavics-Anderson of Wisconsin, four great-granddaughters, Nora, Caroline, Molly and Violet Habing of Carmel; two great-grandsons, Tyler and Ryzer Anderson of Brownsburg and several nieces and nephews.
Preceding Bob in death are his parents, first wife Martha on Nov. 11, 1976, son John Charles “Jack” Bridge on May 13, 2016, a sister Kay Humphrey, and the two Bridge brothers Dudley and James.
A private family celebration of the life of Mr. Robert Rizer Bridge will be held in the Good Family Funeral Home. Pastor Mike VanHeyningen will officiate. Burial will be in the Rochester IOOF Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Fulton County Veteran’s Honor Guard and the United States Army Honors Team.
Memorials may be made to Bridge Family Endowment for Operating Expenses through the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, 227 East 9th St., Rochester, IN 46975; Vision First Indiana Lions Eye Bank, 4745 Haven Point Blvd, Carmel, IN 46280 or charity of donor’s choice. Online expressions of sympathy may be made to his family at www.goodfamilyfh.com .