Kenneth Ross Bridgham passed away in his sleep at Ridgeview Terrace of Life Care in Rutledge, TN, on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, his 86th birthday. He was born and raised in South Portland, Maine, the youngest son of Everett Lorenzo and Jennie Ross Bridgham. As a child, he was active in the Boy Scouts, played the trumpet in the High School band and spent his summers working on local farms. His favorite pastime was fishing with his father. He grew up around tools and developed skills that would be useful all his life. In his later years, he was an avid photographer and wood carver. Both his photographs and carvings can be found in the home of his friends and family.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Ethel Bridgham, who passed away this past July; his son, Mark Bridgham; his parents, Everett & Jennie Bridgham; his brother Merle Bridgham and his three sisters Dorothy Presby, Ruth Philbrick and Muriel Blanchard. He is survived by his four children: Pamela Von Herbulis (Paul) of Baneberry, TN, Kenneth E. Bridgham of Spotsylvania, VA, Paula Racherbaumer (Mike) of Fredericksburg, VA, Brian Bridgham (Diana) of Dunedin, FL and daughter-in-law, Shannon Flood Bridgham of Locust Grove, VA, He also leaves behind fourteen grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren (with the 14th on the way). He was a kind, generous man who loved his family and his country. No words can express the measure of love and admiration he has left in our hearts.
Ken was a veteran of the US Army and served in both Korea and Viet Nam . He earned several medals and citations during his Army career including a Bronze Star. He joined the Army in June of 1947. In September of 1950, he went to Korea as Staff Sergeant of the 167th Signal Photographic Company, Newsreel Team #1. Shortly after, he was assigned to the 226th in the 10th Corp as a combat photographer. For his actions at the battles of Bloody Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He retired from the Army in 1969 as a Master Sergeant and the 1st Sergeant of D.A.S.P.O., the Department of the Army Special Photographic Office. He was extremely proud of the work that unit did during the Viet Nam War.
After his military career, he worked for Cox Broadcasting in Washington DC as a news cameraman and retired in 1992 as the Assistant Bureau Chief. During his many years behind the camera, his lens captured countless historical events. In addition, he professionally photographed 10 US Presidents (starting with Herbert Hoover when he was the US representative to the 1959 Brussels World Fair); then every President from Harry Truman to George Herbert Walker Bush. Yet it can be said, nothing gave him more pride and joy than his loving wife and thriving family.
A special thanks to the staff at Ridgeview Terrace at Life Care for their relentless care and to the St. John Paul II Catholic Mission for their caring attitudes and spiritual guidance during his stay in Rutledge.
He will be interred at Culpeper National Cemetery in Culpeper, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: The ALS Association, Development Dept., 1275 K Street, NW #250, Washington, DC 20005 in memory of Mark Bridgham.