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|Bob Bridgman 1932-2000
"Bob was very special. He was not only my husband, but also my best friend"
A University of Michigan graduate, Bob's academic interests other than Math included History and Latin. While a brilliant man, he was very unassuming and was just as happy discussing baseball scores with a learning impaired employee at the local supermarket, as he was talking with a colleague, a student, a farmer, or a runner from any profession.
He often remarked that no one knew what other runners did for a living, because, by-in-large, no one asked. The garbage man spoke and ran races with the doctor, janitor, schoolteacher, and mechanic and none was the wiser of it for many years.
Bob often told his family how wonderful and interesting he thought this was and what it said about the sport of running. No one judged anyone by their profession. They did, however, know exactly how fast each other were, how good they were at hills, how well they were presently training, and how old each other were to the month. I'l win Skunk Cabbage in Ithaca in May because Haus will still be 54, Bob might say, with a grin, but in June it's all over.Several years ago, the Bob Bridgman Memorial 5K Planning Committee organized the first annual Bob Bridgman Memorial 5K run. Now several years later, we are planning additional annual Memorial Runs. The planning committee is made up of family members, friends, colleagues, and former students who strongly desired the opportunity to honor Bob's memory. The Bob Bridgman Memorial 5K is held as a heartfelt tribute to a truly outstanding individual.
Bob Bridgman was a retired mathematics professor of Mansfield University, a husband to Earlene, a father to Jeff, and a friend to all. Although he unexpectedly passed away in October 2000 after falling off a ladder at his home, his personality and legacy lives on in the memory and hearts of everyone. In the words of his son Jeff, "He was simply the best father anyone could ever have. He was extremely patient, constantly supportive, and always more concerned about others than himself".
Skip Stroebel, a former student of Bob's and overall winner of the first annual race, remembers Bob as"one of the most caring and interesting people I ever met". Stroebel, a history teacher at Edison High School, had always struggled with math. When he joined Bob's class, Stroebel was amazed to find that Bridgman, an active runner himself, knew his running times. As Stroebel continued with math difficulties, "Bob coached me through it - he never let me get down on myself" , says Stroebel.
Bob Dennison of Wilkes-Barre fondly recalled Bob's advice, "Run the best you can at each race, and always do your best". "That's what Bob always did", said