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William Parham Bridges, Jr.

September 18, 1927 January 14, 2021
William  Parham Bridges, Jr.
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Obituary for William Parham Bridges, Jr.

William Parham Bridges Jr. (1927 - 2021) Jackson, MS
After 93 years navigating the roads, skies and gulf coast waters of his native Mississippi, William Parham Bridges’ journey came to a “full stop” on the 14th of January, when he died from complications of COVID-19. Mr. Bridges was born in Jackson on September 18,1927, to William Parham Bridges Sr., and Isabel Bratton Bridges, both deceased.

His wanderlust and need to explore was sparked early, while he was still in elementary school. Along with his blue-eyed pony he named "Pinto," he was able to explore Jackson, as well as Gautier where his beloved Grandfather lived. Able to roam freely around the North State Street area helped him to discover not just how much he liked the geography, but the freedom to explore on his own.

Mr. Bridges attended Public Schools in Jackson, as well as Riverside Military Academy in Georgia. After Riverside, he joined the United States Marine Corp, where he served in the pacific, until his discharge in 1946. There, he formed friendships that lasted until his death. As the saying goes, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine.”

Upon his discharge from the USMC, he entered Millsaps College. While attending school, he began his real estate career by assuming management of Bridges Loan and Investment Company. Through time, it provided a full spectrum of services encompassing eight states, which included land development, home building, mortgage lending, and insurance services. In order to provide that “full spectrum” of services, he expanded Bridges Mortgage, which was eventually sold to Deposit Guaranty National Bank, as well as the insurance offerings; he contracted with and operated utility companies, and established a prefabricating plant. Although it was “fun and challenging while it lasted,” over time, the business contracted to the places he loved most, Jackson and the Gulf Coast. His Mississippi Real Estate license is still valid; in fact, he signed his final sales contract in October 2020.

Mr. Bridges was a Director of the National Association of Real Estate Boards for the years 1953-55 and 1965; Vice President in 1960. In 1959, he was President of the Mississippi Real Estate Association. He also served on the Education, Convention and Resolutions Committees of the National Association of Real Estate Boards, as well as the Realtors Washington Committee and Government National Mortgage General Advisory Committee. In 1968, he was selected Realtor of the Year for both Jackson and Mississippi. He was a member of the National Association of Real Estate Counselors; Past President of the Real Estate Flyers; Charter Member of the Mississippi Home Builders Association and Jackson Mortgage Lenders Association; Secretary of the Mississippi Aeronautics Commission and for five years was Wing Commander of the Mississippi Civil Air Patrol. Corporate boards upon which he served were that of Deposit Guaranty National Bank, the Housing Rehabilitation Appeals Board for the City of Jackson, and the Housing and Redevelopment Board for the City of Biloxi.

Mr. Bridges always understood the need to balance occupation with recreation. He was a private pilot, who enjoyed flying several types of aircraft for over 50 years. He was equally at home on the water and was fortunate to “captain” boats, small and large, with and without sails, from the age of 13. As comfortable under the water, as he was on it, he enjoyed SCUBA diving in the British Honduras. When landlocked, he loved to play tennis. Although he was always aware he was better at watching it, than he was playing it. He was an exceptionally social person, who enjoyed these activities most when in the company of treasured friends and business associates.

Mr. Bridges was a member of the Republican Party. Among his philanthropic endeavors were the donation of land for an Episcopal Day School, the Mississippi Lions Club Sight Foundation and Library for the Blind and a city park in Jackson, along with donation of land for the Biloxi Little Theater; he also enjoyed his many years sponsoring “The Ladies Fund” boat trips.

Mr. Bridges was preceded in death by his eldest son, William Parham Bridges III of Gulfport, MS. He is survived by daughter-in-law, Patty Bridges, Gulfport, MS; and four children: Roderick Rhodes Bridges Sr. (DJ) Lancaster, PA, Ashley Bridges, College Station, TX, David P. Bridges (Tracy) Madison, MS, and Tad Bridges (Lori) Ocean Springs, MS.

He is also survived by eight grandchildren: William P. Bridges, IV (Robin), Christopher Bridges (Rachel), Roderick (Roddy) Rhodes Bridges, Jr., Michelle Bridges Jorgenson (Don), Adam Bridges (Corinne), Billy Jack Vicic Jr. (Julie), Luke Austin Vicic and Tad Bridges II. And eleven great-children: Tabitha Bridges, Shane Marshall (Kat), Nolan Bridges, Roderick (Rod) Rhodes Bridges III (Madeleine), Taylor Lauren Bridges, Hudson M. Bridges, Jackson Augustus Vicic, Harrison James Vicic, Asher Bridges and Claire Bridges.

Mr. Bridges is also survived by his cousin Robert Bridges, who was truly the brother he never had.

A funeral service will not be held, because it is Mr. Bridges’ wish to be cremated and, as he expressed it, “have my ashes dropped into the water half way to Ship Island, in the Gulfport ship channel between buoys 56 and 58, because but for dumb luck, I should have drowned there 50 years ago.”

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