Emma Jean Bridewell, July 7, 1922 – May 26, 2022
Jean Bridewell of Wilmore slipped away quietly on May 26 at Taylor Manor Nursing Home in Versailles, just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. She is survived by her two daughters, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. The family has elected not to have a service, according to her wishes. Memorial donations can be made to the Glover-Bridewell Endowed Scholarship at Asbury University online at https://www.asbury.edu/give/ or by mail at Asbury University, 1 Macklem Drive, Wilmore, KY 40390.
Jean Bridewell lived a long and fruitful life that spanned numerous critical developments in the American story. She was born Emma Jean Glover and raised in Grand Saline, Texas, daughter of small business owner Henry Glover and his wife Lily Mae (Black) Glover. In 1939, following teen years spent navigating the Great Depression, she began college at North Texas State University in Denton. In 1943, after completing her BS in Music Education with an emphasis in piano performance, she spent a year in Hawaii teaching music at a US Army school during WWII. After returning to Texas, she earned a Master’s degree in Music at North Texas State, and, in 1948, launched what became a 13-year stint teaching piano and directing high school choirs in the copper mining town of Morenci, Arizona.
In December of 1960, she married WWII and Korean War Army veteran Ross O. Bridewell, a foreign language teacher at her school, and next year began her family of two daughters, Mary Margaret (Markie) and Charlotte Ann (Vanna). Jean spent the following years raising her children, playing piano and organ at various churches, and moving from place to place—sojourning in California, Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico—as Ross worked on graduate degrees in foreign languages at various universities. In 1974, Ross was hired to teach Spanish at Asbury University; the family moved to Wilmore that year. For the next dozen years or so, Jean taught piano and music at Asbury. She often played for chapel services and was a coveted accompanist for student and faculty recitals, known as the go-to person for the pieces in which the accompaniment was more difficult than the solo.
During this period, she also served as pianist for the Harrodsburg United Methodist Church. After retiring in the latter 1980s, she and Ross kept their home base in Wilmore but spent many winters at the Florida Holiness Campground in Lakeland, Florida, where she often played piano for chapel services. While in Kentucky, she served as the pianist for St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church in Harrodsburg and traveled during summers to play at Indian Springs Holiness Camp Meeting in central Georgia and at Noonday Holiness Camp Meeting near Marshall, Texas. When Jean and Ross could no longer travel, they spent their final years living in Wilmore in an apartment wing of the house belonging to Markie and her family. Ross passed away in early 2014, and Jean was able to live at home until her final few months, being cared for in recent years by her daughter Charlotte.
Jean will be remembered as a kind, sympathetic teacher, a loving grandmother, and a stellar musician. Her daughter likes to say that when Jean sat at the piano, the keyboard seemed to shrink under her mastery. Her family has decided not to have a funeral service at Jean’s request. She often commented that no one would come, as all her contemporaries have already passed on. She did specify, however, that any memorial gifts be sent to the Glover/Bridewell scholarship for music students that she established at Asbury University (see details above).
This obituary was loving submitted by the Bridewell family. Hager & Cundiff values nothing more than the trust & loyalty given to us by the Bridewell family.
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