Justin and Bridgette Griffin Azevedo.
I’m heartsick, again. I know Bridgette Griffin Azevedo was right with God and is now in Paradise with our Lord and Savior. However, knowing the void she is leaving in so many lives, not the least of which is her youngest son who is still in his mid-teens, makes hers a very hard loss to intellectualize.
My first memories of Bridgette are from Alf Peterson’s accounting class at Oregon Institute of Technology. She and Pati Horton sat at the front of the classroom; I was at the back, near the door. Their lifelong friendship has seen many joys and discomforts, but they each knew they had each other.
Bridgette would leave OIT and graduate from University of Oregon. Ironically, she would complete her graduate work at University of Washington. The athletic rivalry between the schools had no bearing in providing her with an unrivaled education.
We would meet up again through Kiwanis. She was one of several bankers in the Klamath Falls club. When her time as president came, she was steadfast in the expectations she had for members and those with committee chairs. Her requirement for service beyond committee logistics found one member erroneously rueing the day women were allowed into the club. He made a mistake in sharing that information with me; I’ve thought less of him since.
She brought many people into the club, including her sister, Melinda, whom you could tell was Bridgette’s pet. Life was not always easy, as she lost her beloved mother and her first marriage, but she endured and tried to make a difference wherever possible. Meeting the Alaskan woman who received her mother’s donor heart was a moving milestone. I’m not sure that many people know that Bridgette offered a kidney to an ailing Kiwanian on dialysis.
I was preparing to reach out to Bridgette and ask her to speak about her new business to the Linkville Kiwanis club. Alas, I’m too late.
She walked away from Kiwanis when we no longer prayed over our meals. Her belief in honoring and thanking God weighed heavy in a time that many people have turned their backs on what is noble and true. I would have liked to have her know that Linkville still prays.
I grieve for her family and close friends, but also for the entire community. She was president of the chamber of commerce and chair of the United Way’s annual campaign. These posts were assumed with the vivacious spirit for which she was known.
I hope she left few tasks undone. Her son, Wyatt, is a grown man, but Austin still has to complete high school. Bridgette’s husband Justin will help her boys find their way in this world. She will be waiting for them in the next.
Hers was a glad reunion with family and friends in Paradise. I hope she knows how revered she is to those of us who missed the chance to tell her in this life.