Herford Hering Bridges

Dec. 14, 1921 - Jan. 26, 2017

Herford Hering Bridges peacefully passed away on January 16, 2017 in Houston. He was a man who deeply loved his wife and working on his Angus cattle ranch.

Visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, January 28, at OakCrest Funeral Home. The funeral will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, January 29, at First Baptist Church in Mart, Texas. Interment will take place on Monday in Tow Cemetery.

Herford was born in Pleasanton, Texas, on December 14, 1921, to William Thomas Bridges and Elmina West Bridges. Though valedictorian of his high school class in Charlotte, Texas, he was late to the graduation ceremony because he was playing a hot game of marbles. After graduation, he attended Tarleton College on a football scholarship. To go home or anywhere else, he had to hitchhike. He wore his Corps uniform to ensure he would get a ride. While at Tarleton, his friend and classmate, Leslie Hereford, showed him a photo of his beautiful 15-year-old sister, Annetta Shaw Hereford. Herford managed to finagle an invitation to their home for Thanksgiving break. Herford and Annetta married in Pleasanton on June 10, 1941. He then attended Texas A&M University, again on a football scholarship. Their son, Rayford Jasper Bridges was born the following year. Next came, Roxie Diane Bridges. Herford quit college to work at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, building radios for airplanes.

Since one of his brothers was in the Navy during World War II, Herford joined the Navy, and Annetta and the children moved in with her parents while he was away. After boot camp in California, Herford had the highest scores for his group and thus could choose what field he wanted to learn. He chose electronics, an up-and-coming field. His job in the Navy was to install radios in airplanes and repair them, and other electronics tasks. During WWII, he was stationed several places, all stateside. When he was in Florida, Annetta surprised him by showing up unexpectedly on base with the children and her younger sister Rose, so Herford quickly had to find a place for his family to live near the base. This was a happy time for the couple, as Rose babysat while Herford and Annetta went out, dancing and having fun. After Herford's discharge from the Navy in 1946, they moved to Grand Prairie, Texas, where he bought a dump truck to make a living. Then, Leslie Duane Bridges, was born.

The family moved in with Herford's parents and younger siblings in Charlotte for a while, and then built a house on his parents' property. Herford helped his father farm and dig irrigation ditches. The final children, Michael Bradley Bridges and Brenda Gail Bridges, were then born.

Securing a loan for veterans, Herford and Annetta bought a farm near Leming, Texas, and moved their small house from Charlotte to this farm and enlarged the house. Herford raised chickens, hogs, cattle, and a goat. Crops he produced were cotton, watermelons, corn, peanuts, sorghum, and hay. He also had a small fruit orchard. Herford worked too hard and suffered a heart attack at age 33. The doctor told him to quit farming or he would die soon. Herford decided to become a teacher, so he would have summers off to raise hay for his cattle. He and Annetta returned to college, this time at Texas A&I University in Kingsville. Herford recalled with smiles the time they lived in a small travel trailer; he called it their honeymoon. For a while, Annetta's parents took care of the children on the farm in Leming. Later, the whole family moved to housing near campus, including Annetta's mother to babysit the younger children.

Herford earned his degree first and commuted to Robstown, Texas, where he taught science. When Annetta completed her degree, the family moved to Natalia, Texas, for a year. Then they moved back to their farm near Leming. Herford was superintendent of Leming School. After a few years, he taught at Pleasanton High School.

When Roxie graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Herford and Annetta quickly bought a ranch near Waco, where he raised black Angus cattle and hay. He registered his new brand, which was an H joined to an A, for their first names. The brand HA. He would hand-pick large patches of special grass seeds, which he would save and plant the next year. He knew the names of all the grass seeds. Most of the house was built by Herford and his sons.

Herford and Annetta taught at schools in Waco until retirement. He taught physics, chemistry, and earth sciences. Some summers he would take advanced math or other classes at Baylor.

Herford and Annetta went sightseeing in Greece, France, Scotland, England, Albania, and Italy. He loved to travel, driving across the continental U.S., Alaska, and Canada, stopping at national parks and sites and visiting relatives. He enjoyed life's simple pleasures: watermelon, ice cream, Dr. Pepper, his wild cat, being outdoors, picnics in the bluebonnets, singing songs with his daughters, riding around looking at the scenery and soaking in natural hot springs were his pleasures. He made the most of every day.Until he was 82, Herford ran his beloved ranch that he had cared for and improved for decades. He and Annetta moved to College Station, Texas in 2003. At 95 years old, his hands were still incredibly strong.

Predeceasing Herford are his parents, his wife, his brothers (Jasper, Granvel, Rayford, and Erskine), and his sisters (Velva, Dona Lee, and Janie).

He is survived by his brother, Verlon; and his children, Rayford , Roxie Palczer and husband, Terry, Duane and wife, Suzanne, Michael and wife, Donna, and Brenda Bridges. Also surviving him are grandchildren, Marna Dawn Lovett and husband, George, Kari Ann Bridges, Darek Bridges, and Zach Bridges and wife, Rebekah, as well as Maren Bridges, whom he called his daughter.

In lieu of floral tributes, you might wish to make a donation to Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation at www.alzinfo.org/donate/donation_form/ or visit a resident in a long-term care facility.

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