John P. Bridwell, Jr., 82, passed away peacefully March 17, 2015, at Epworth Villa Nursing home after a long illness. John was the oldest child born October 26, 1932, to John and Lorene Bridwell at Lindsay, OK.
He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Don Bridwell, and sister Mary Connel. Growing up on his parent’s farm, John formed a strong work ethic. After lettering in multiple sports at Lindsay High School, he graduated in 1951 and married his high school sweetheart, Betty Smith. He attended Central State a short time, and then with the help of a family friend purchased his first business, a small grocery store in Cyril, OK. In 1957, he sold the store and joined the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, serving four years in Blackwell and Ponca City. John resigned the Patrol in 1961 and purchased a Cities Service Distributorship in Perry, OK, delivering fuel to service stations and farmers.
His farm heritage led him to purchase land near Perry to raise cattle. He sold the gas delivery business in 1966 and began a career of 30+ years with Ditch Witch. He worked sales at the factory, owned a Maryland dealership, traveled most of the United States as a Zone Manager, and finally owned and operated the Oklahoma Ditch Witch dealership with locations in Edmond and Tulsa. John retired from the dealership in 1996, and his son, Gary, who had managed the Tulsa location, assumed full operations which continue today. John’s love for horses began in grade school when he rode his horse “Shorty” to a one room school near home.
In 1984 he started a horse farm in east Edmond to breed and sell thoroughbreds and quarter horses, at times having over 75 horses. Besides the horses, John enjoyed quail hunting, playing golf, and watching his grandsons growing up playing sports. He also enjoyed OSU football and basketball. Other business interests included developing two housing additions, an oilfield supply company, a dirt and development site contractor, and several Keller Williams locations. He also served in the Edmond Men’s Tips Club, as a bank director, and Edmond Economic Development Authority board member. John was a humble man with a big and tender heart.
He truly enjoyed helping people, a trait he learned from his dad. John loved the Lord and his church. Before his health declined, he was an active member of the Edmond Church of Christ.
He is survived by his wife Betty, son Gary (Mary Ellen), daughter Gayla (Max), grandsons Dru (Daryn), Chad, Cody (Piper), and Trevor (Amber), plus six great grandchildren and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. His legacy will endure through the lives of each of them.
The family extends their deepest gratitude to the staff at Epworth Nursing and Hospice for their loving care and compassion.
A viewing will be held Thursday March 19th from 6-7:30 pm at Matthews Funeral Home. Services will be held March 20th at 11 am, Edmond Church of Christ.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or In Search of the Lords Way.
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