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Harper-Talasek Funeral Homes
Gerald J. Bridges
May 9, 1927  -  October 10, 2017


On the morning of Tuesday, October 10, 2017, Gerald Jackson Bridges, aged 90, left his earthly life to reach the arms of his Lord. Gerald was born in Salado on May 9, 1927 to the late Claudie Jack and Elsie Mae (Grigsby) Bridges. He attended Salado schools and graduated from Salado High School in May, 1945. He was a butcher at various grocery stores for over 20 years and retired from civil service on Fort Hood where he worked in Electronics and Calibrations for over 22 years. He married Nelta Leebeth Powell on June 13, 1950, together they had 4 daughters, Mary, Virginia, Melinda and Patricia. Nelta preceded him in death in 1995 and he later married Reida Young on January 30, 2000. He was a member of Elm Grove Baptist Church where he served as a Deacon.
Gerald was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was a constant and steady provider for his family and was always there to support them in any way he could. Gerald was very proud of his John Deere Tractor, it was one that he had as a child and restored. He loved to share his tractor with his friends and community and would often ride it in parades, give hay rides to the school children and mow yards or till gardens. Gerald enjoyed bringing delight to children and he did so for the many years that he worked as a professional Santa Claus for Cherry Hill Productions. He was Santa Claus at Highland Mall in Austin for several years and also did private parties for churches, schools and nursing homes.
Gerald was a 32nd degree Mason and held a dual membership with Salado Lodge #296 and Belton Lodge #116. He was honored to have received the Mason's Golden Trowel award. He was also a Shriner for many years.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Nelta Bridges and his oldest daughter, Mary Bridges and a sister Claudine Postlethwaite.
Those left to cherish his memory and carry on his legacy are his wife, Reida Bridges of Belton; 3 daughters, Virginia Runyan of Belton, Melinda Ciupek and husband Paul of Celebration, FL., and Patricia Simmons of Aberdeen, SD; 4 grandchildren, Lori Bridges, Matthew Simmons, Emily Porter (Justin) and Blake Rudnick (Devin); and 3 great-grandchildren, Laiken and Landon Rudnick and Bryson Porter. He is also survived by a step-son, Jerome Engelke; 4 step-grandchildren, Donnie Eaton, Kacee Engelke, Ashlee Pannell and Mark Engelke; 4 step-great-grandchildren, Hayden Engelke, Addyson Pannell, Callie and Cadie Eaton.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the charity of your choice.
Funeral services for Gerald will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, October 13, 2017 at the Harper-Talasek Funeral Home Chapel in Belton with Pastor Steven Vaughn, Chaplain Bruce Mercer, Byron Mauldin and Pastor Dan Cockrell officiating. Burial with Masonic Rites will follow at North Belton Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7 pm on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at the funeral home.

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