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 Tribute to my beloved father Kirk Bridegroom

Kirkwood Clyde "Kirk" Bridegroom       April 8, 1923 -- March 28, 2008

Kirk Bridegroom, a lifelong resident of Hilmar, Denair and Turlock, would have been 85 on his next birthday.  He was born to Clyde and Ethel Bridegroom of Hilmar and attended Little Hilmar.  He worked hard on the family farm, excelled in football and graduated from Hilmar High School in 1942.  On Aug 25, 1945 he married Elaine Anderson, also from Hilmar, at the Hilmar Covenant Church.  They honeymooned in Yellowstone National Park.

From 1945 - 1950 they farmed the Bridegroom Ranch on August Ave/Tegner Road.  From 1950 - 1957, Kirk farmed the Judge John Mahoney property on Riverside Ave in Hilmar.  On Dec 31, 1957 he moved his family to a 25 acre dairy he and Elaine had purchased on Hickman Rd in Denair.  This was their home for 47 years.

Kirk loved farming, milking primarily Holsteins.  Later, he also raised white-faced Herefords and Angus.

In 1963, after selling the cows, Kirk converted his barns into welding shops for his Kirk Bridegroom Automatic Hardfacing business.  He rebuilt the under carriage of crawler tractors, servicing clients from Sacramento to Firebaugh, from the East Bay to Sonora, including Gallo, Foster Farms, George Kapor Land Leveling, and many other farmers, nurseries, loggers and land levelers.  While in Denair, Kirk was very active in the Denair Lions Club.  He served on the Board of Directors of the Sand Creek Flood Control district and belonged to SIRS with whom he loved to golf every week.

Kirk always wanted to "see what was at the end of the road", but milking cows limited that.  So the favorite family destination was and still is Yosemite.  After the cows, the adventures became longer and included Houston and the Astrodome, Braniff and Jaspar, Yellowstone, Maine, New Hampshire, Washington DC and an Alaskan cruise.

In 1986 he and Elaine bought a 5th wheel RV and began traveling around the country.  The attended the World's Fair in Vancouver, the International Lions Club Convention in Denver, the Indy 500 (for their 50th Anniversary).  They journeyed as far north as Alaska and as far east as Florida.  They belonged to two local RV clubs -- the Diablo Waggoneers and All Seasons RV Club.  In 2005 they took the family to Hawaii for their 60th wedding anniversary.  Their last trip was in the fall of 2006 when they flew to Wisconsin to visit Elaine's childhood home and the Green Bay Packer's Lambeau Field.

Kirk leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Elaine, 3 children, Wayne Bridegroom of Modesto, Kathy Peak formerly of Mount Herman and Ron Bridegroom of Simi Valley as well as 3 grandchildren:  Melissa Dearing, Joshua Bridegroom and Ben Bridegroom;  2 step-grandchildren:  Kathryn Landes and Karen Richmond;  and 2 great-grand children:  Josiah and Makenna Bridegroom and 7 step great-grandchildren:  Kaitlyn, Kristoffer, Kaleb, Kimberly, Karissa Landes and Jacob and Elaine Heppler.

Kirk is also survived by his sister Bethel White of Atascadero and several nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by brothers and sisters:  Radcliff Bridegroom, Robina Rumkin, Robert Bridegroom and Sharon O'Reilly.

Kirk had a special love for many things:  trains, football (S.F. 49'ers), A. J. Foyt and Indy 500 racing, Yosemite, his Farmall tractor, animals, tomatoes, pansies and integrity -- to name a few.  But his greatest love was his beloved Elaine.


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