Esther Faye Bridges, the youngest of five children, was born June 15, 1926, in Elk Creek, Mo., to Charles Wesley and Mary (Crane) Briggs. She passed away peacefully with family on Sept. 28, 2022, at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo., at the age of 96.
Esther graduated from Cabool High School in 1944; while there she was an excellent student and played volleyball and basketball. After graduation, Esther moved to Kansas City to work in a factory supporting the effort for World War II. She returned to Cabool to work in 1945.
Esther married Paul Bridges of Cabool on July 28, 1946 in Lamar, Colo. During the early years of their marriage they moved often to follow Paul’s construction jobs. They lived in Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Missouri. A son, Paul Jr. was born in Cabool in May 1947 and Doug was born in Waco, Texas, in November 1952. The family settled in Belton in August 1953 and Anita was born there in August 1956.
Esther was a community volunteer, Girl Scout leader and assisted with many of her children’s school activities. The family home was a gathering place for the neighborhood children. Esther was an accomplished seamstress and sewed her and Anita’s clothes and made quilts and teddy bears. She loved gardening, the yard had many flower varieties and a summer vegetable garden was a must. Esther was an excellent cook and baker, her homemade noodles and cinnamon rolls were quite popular at Thanksgiving dinners. She took cake decorating classes and made cakes as pretty as any in a bakery. While in Belton, she and Paul attended South Haven Baptist Church.
Esther worked for the Belton School District as a nurse aide from 1972 to 1988. After retirement she and Paul traveled extensively. They went to many national parks, all 50 state capitols, England and many trips to Las Vegas. After 63 years of marriage she moved to Springfield in November 2009 after Paul’s death. She lived at Creekside at Elfindale Independent Living until she moved to Creekside Assisted Living in June 2021.
Paul and Esther understood the importance of a good education and made many sacrifices to put their children through college. All of their children have had successful careers with their parents as role models. On her journey from Elk Creek to Belton and finally Cabool; Esther mentored, influenced, guided and was a positive Christian role model to all the people she met.
Esther is survived by her three children, Paul Jr (Deana) of Swansea, IL, Doug (Mary) of Puyallup, Wash., and Anita of Springfield, Mo.; three granddaughters, Dr. Lauren Compton (Tyler) of Ballwin, Mo., Dr. Catherine Bridges of Cincinnati and USMC SSgt Melissa Bridges of Cincinnati and two great grandchildren, Braeden and Bridgette Compton.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Anita Bridges Cruzan Social Work Scholarship at the Missouri State University Foundation, 300 S. Jefferson Ave., Ste 100, Springfield, MO 65806 or to the Cabool Cemetery c/o the funeral home, P0 Box 708 Cabool, MO 65689.