May 13, 1948 – May 11, 2016
Alan Martin Bridge went home to his Heavenly Father at the beautiful and serene Whatcom Hospice House in Bellingham, well attended by caring family and compassionate staff, after a hospitalization and a 2 week bout with severe pneumonia.
Alan was born May 13, 1948 to Wilfred and Mary (Samuels) Bridge. As a child he picked berries, ran a paper route either on his bicycle or his horse Socks, and was on the wresting team. He attended Skagit Valley College. In 1967, he and high school sweetheart Jane Silverthorn were married and together had 2 children, Shawn Martin and Leanna Maret Bridge.
Alan was a man of many talents. He was a skilled fisherman, a talented hunter, an exceptional mariner and an excellent mechanic. Certain exploits on his motorcycle were near legendary in the Lyman/Hamilton area. His son could never break his dirt bike so badly that Alan was unable to fix it. Though his life had its struggles, he was never more at peace than when he was on the water at the helm of a sailboat with his friend Newt Scott, chasing the next salmon with his wife Beverly, or skillfully piloting a tugboat.
He met Beverly Knoppi, with whom he later moved to SE Alaska, where they were married in 1987. Alan worked in the timber industry in Kake, Hydaburg, Long Island, and Salmonberry Cover where he worked to perfect the log
A new chapter opened when he came “outside” to study at the Crawford Nautical School for Maritime Licensing in Seattle, and successfully sat for his Coast Guard exams. In January 1990 he was licensed in Juneau, AK, to serve as Operator of Uninspected Towing Vessels to 200 tons, and as Master of Steam or Motor Vessels of not more than 100 gross tons, both upon near coastal and inland waters.
He was very pleased, and landed his dream job as Master of the El Capitan tugboat, towing log rafts and barges in SE Alaskan waters and Puget Sound. On February 23, 1991, he was devastatingly injured, suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a tow line snapped while getting underway in Ketchikan. His tug boating career was ended, and he went through extensive rehabilitation facilities in Seattle and California. His most successful improvements were due to 25 years of devoted care and tireless advocacy by his wife Beverly. Alan and Beverly spent 15 contented years in California while he continued to heal and progress. They then spent 10 in the Ferndale area with the last few months being together at Stafholt Good Samaritan Care Center in Blaine.
Life was not always easy for Alan. There were mistakes, sorrows, losses, pain, challenges and triumphs, but 3 years before his head injury at the age of 42, he strived hard to live a gentler and more peaceful life. He joined the Lutheran church in Ketchikan. He tried to love his family and gloried in the beauties of nature, the outdoors, and wildlife. We trust he continues to be held in God’s wise, forgiving and loving hands.
Alan was preceded in death by his parents Mary and Wilfred Bridge. He is survived by his wife Beverly, his son Shaun (Tami) of Sedro Woolley, WA and grandchildren Alex and Lilly Bridge; as well as daughter Leanna (David) Rezvani of Lexington, MA, and his grandchildren Sofia and Alistair Rezvani; his sister DeAnna Bridge Claus (Robert) of Anacortes, and numerous nieces and nephews. He further leaves his step children and grandchildren: stepson William (Sherry) and grandchildren Genevieve, Dominique, Will and Nick Knoppi of Snoqualmie; stepson Earl and grandson Jon Jon Knoppi of Ferndale; and stepdaughter Janann (Steve) Thompson and grandchildren Maeva, Chase and Vivienne Thompson of Blaine. Steve Thompson in later years served as Alan’s guardian and he and his family worked diligently on Alan and Beverly’s behalf.
The family thanks the very professional staff at Stafholt Good Samaritan Center, St. Josephs Hospital, and Whatcom Hospice House. Their kindness was exceptional, their compassion noteworthy, and their understanding was healing.
A formal memorial service will be held for Alan at 11 a.m., August 5, 2016 at Anacortes Lutheran Church, 2100 O Ave., Anacortes WA. Suggested memorials would be to Stafholt Good Samaritan Center, 456 C St., Blaine, WA 98230; Whatcom Hospice Foundation, 2901 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham, WA 98225; or to Holy Truth Lutheran Church, 426 Buren Road, Ketchikan, AK 99901.
You are invited to share your condolences and memories in the online guestbook at www.gilliesfuneralhome.com, Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Lynden, WA.