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Published: Monday, 4/30/2001

Recipient of Bronze Star involved in literary efforts

Richard W. Bridenbaugh of West Toledo, a Bronze Star winner as a war correspondent and a leader in volunteer organizations, died of cancer April 23 at his home. He was 79.

He was diagnosed with the disease about two weeks before his death, said Bea Bridenbaugh, his second wife.

Mr. Bridenbaugh worked 31 years for Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. in the employee and industrial relations department. Before retiring in 1982, his duties included working on company publications, retirement communications, and United Way activities. Before joining LOF, he was a business reporter for the Toledo Times.

He graduated in 1939 from DeVilbiss High School and, after studying journalism at the University of Toledo, entered the U.S. Army in World War II and was sent to the South Pacific as a combat correspondent. His coverage of the recapture of Leyte Island in the Philippines from the Japanese earned him a Bronze Star.

“He used to kind of make light of” his war service, said Ann Okuley, his daughter. “It didn't hit you until later that he had done these awesome things in the South Pacific.”

Ms. Okuley said her father was encouraged to enter journalism by his dad, Richard G. Bridenbaugh, a former assistant public relations director for The Blade.

“Journalism got in his blood somewhere early on because his dad was involved with the journalism community,” Ms. Okuley said. “My dad did a pretty good job carrying on the tradition.”

Throughout his career and during his retirement, Mr. Bridenbaugh was active in a number of community organizations. He was a Boy Scout troop leader and member of Westgate Kiwanis, and was involved with a local literacy program.

“Dick was a steward who took care of people,” Mrs. Bridenbaugh said. “He had such great joy in guiding people or helping people make their lives better.

“One of his big loves was reading. He couldn't imagine anyone not getting the joy out of reading that he did.”

He married Bea Bridenbaugh 11 years ago after meeting her at an organization for widows and widowers. He was married to his first wife, Laura, for 32 years, until she died in 1982. He and Laura were classmates at DeVilbiss and UT.

Mr. Bridenbaugh had two children from his first marriage: Lawrence and Ann Okuley, both of whom survive him.

Other survivors include his wife, Bea; brother, William; son, Lawrence; daughter, Ann Okuley; stepsons, John, Jerry, and Matt Colley; stepdaughters, Leah Emery, Ann Domanowski, Tina Kincaid, Jackie Sorohan, Jane Monroe, and Carol Bucher; a granddaughter, 21 step-grandchildren; a great-grandson, and two step-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday in Christ the King Church, 4100 Harvest Lane, followed by a memorial service at 10 a.m.



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