Longtime Sullivan County school board member Bridwell dead at 93

Rick Wagner • Updated Feb 1, 2019 at 7:32 AM

KINGSPORT — A 28-year veteran of the Sullivan County School board, longtime board chairman and former president of the Tennessee School Boards Association has died.

Charles G. Bridwell, 93, of the Indian Springs community died Sunday, Jan. 27 at Elmcroft Assisted Living following a period of declining health, according to his obituary from Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home in Kingsport. Born in Kingsport, he had lived in this area his entire life except for his time in the U.S. Navy during World War II and when he lived in Knoxville while attending the University of Tennessee.

“He was a dandy,” said former Sullivan County school board member Jerry Greene of Bristol, who served on the board with Bridwell from 1994 until Bridwell did not seek re-election in 2004. Bridwell joined the board Sept. 1, 1976, and his last term ended Aug. 31, 2004. Greene served 1994 to 2018. The board used to have two-year terms, and Greene said he had one of the last one of those.

“Charlie was just a fine gentleman. He was a very dedicated person. For the kids in the schools, he gave it his best,” Greene said Thursday afternoon.

“He was on for a long time,” Greene recalled of Bridwell’s chairmanship, a job also held by the late Dana Carrier and Alvie Bright. “They have a rule now four years and they’re off” as chairman.

Bridwell retired from Eastman Kodak in 1986 following 31 years of service. He was a member of Bethel Presbyterian Church since the 1980s. He he served as Sunday school teacher, choir member and elder. Bridwell also was a member of Indian Springs Ruritan and he was Ruritan National President in 1973. He also was a member of Whiteside Masonic Lodge #13 F.&A.M and on the Eastman Family Bowling League and the Holston Defense Softball League. 

The family will receive friends 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Hamlett-Dobson. The funeral service will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, in the chapel with the Rev. Dr. Martin L. Stokes, Jr. and pastor emeritus Gary Bement officiating. Burial will follow at East Lawn Memorial Park. Military honors will be accorded by The American Legion, Hammond Post 3 and Gate City Post 265.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Bethel Presbyterian Church, 1593 Warpath Dr., Kingsport, TN, 37664, Alzheimer’s Tennessee Northeast Tennessee Office, 3212 Hanover Rd., Ste. 5, Johnson City, TN 37604 or the charity of the donor’s choice.

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