Cover photo for Carl  M. Bridegam's Obituary
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1960 Carl 2019

Carl M. Bridegam

February 12, 1960 — June 9, 2019

Hard working, there to help others out, easy to talk to and if you needed anything, he would be there to help were just a few ways to describe Carl Bridegam. At a young age he learned the value of hard work the value of having family around and being there for others. For 24 years, Carl was active in volunteering with the Thorncreek Township Fire Department and would inspire his sons to be active in volunteering with township fire departments.

In 1960, the United States announced that 3,500 American soldiers were sent to Vietnam to aid in the war efforts. With one hundred million television sets in use worldwide, the first televised Presidential debate was aired, leading to John F. Kennedy being elected as the 35th U.S. President. The Flintstones premiered on TV and the classic American novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" was published. The same year, aluminum cans were first being used, Xerox introduced the first photocopier and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed. Out of all the news though, nothing was more important to Marvin and Ellen (Cunningham) Bridegam as they announced the birth of their second child. Carl M. Bridegam was born on February 12, 1960 in Columbia City, Indiana at Whitley Memorial Hospital.

He and his older sister Janet were later joined by Brian, Nancy, Cindy and Leon. As a boy, Carl and his siblings traveled with their parents who attended square dances around the country. Carl loved being outdoors. He enjoyed fishing, being around bonfires and sleeping outside in the summertime. He was an active 4-H member for ten years. Carl attended Thorncreek Elementary and Columbia City Joint High School, where he was involved with the Future Farmers of America, played football and wrestled. He would go on to graduate with the Class of 1979.

At a young age, Carl started helping his father in their garden and working on his grandparents' dairy farm. In high school his work career outside of farming was working for a family who owned a rubber stamp company, then Pickin Patch in Waynedale and Warsaw and before graduating, he began working where his dad worked for at Thompson Chevrolet. Carl went on to work over 15 years at both Schrader Farms and Reelcraft in Columbia City before his health forced him slow down.

While he was growing up, he attended First Church of God with his family along with Debbie Leininger, who also attended with her family. As fate would have it, the two would be drawn together with the help of his sister Janet who worked with Debbie at Whitley Memorial Hospital. Carl and Debbie would be united in marriage on September 28, 1985 at their church. They made Columbia City their home and welcomed four children into their hearts and home, Danny, Derek, Jacob and Katie.

Carl supported his children as they competed in 4-H, showing in goat, swine and dairy feeder calf. He was on the Whitley County 4-H Goat Club Advisory Board for many years. He was always there to lend his expertise and guidance and help any child or parent. Every summer, time was spent at the Whitley County 4-H grounds and at the Indiana State 4-H Fair. He always looked forward to the last day of showing goats in Indianapolis because it was also the first day that they would bring in the large horses, which was another favorite of his. He liked watching horse pulls, truck and tractor pulls, car races, college basketball and pro football along with college girls' softball.

He often would get in his truck and go. Carl loved driving around and taking road trips. In the winter it brought joy to him by driving around their Columbia Shores neighborhood and look at all the Christmas lights that decorated the homes. He enjoyed going to auctions in Shipshewana and Rochester just to be a people watcher. Carl was a people person. He never knew a stranger and was easy to approach and have a conversation with.

Carl's favorite thing was to be with his family. He loved bonding over campfires and being around people who he loved. He was close with his children and their friends. He and Debbie had a special bond with all of their kids' friends. As Carl slowed down, he played UNO, worked on word searches, put together puzzles and doodling on paper.

On Sunday afternoon, June 9, 2019, Carl Bridegam, 59, passed away at his home in Columbia City unexpectedly. He is survived by his loving wife of 33 years, Debbie Bridegam; parents, Marvin and Ellen Bridegam, of Columbia City; children, Danny Bridegam, Jacob Bridegam and Katie (Tanner Moore) Bridegam, all of Columbia City; siblings, Janet (Steve) Shearer, Brian (Lynnette) Bridegam, Nancy Bridegam, Cindy (David) Wakeman and Leon Bridegam, all of Columbia City; his in-laws, Marlin and Marcia Leininger, of Columbia City; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, Derek Bradley Bridegam on December 1, 2014.

A gathering of family and friends will be 1-8 p.m. Monday, June 17, 2019 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with Funeral Celebrant Sharon Brockhaus officiating. He will be laid to rest by his son at Oak Grove (Compton) Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Whitley County 4-H Goat Club, I.C.O. Lynnette Bridegam. Visit to send his family condolences online.


DeMoney-Grimes a Life Story Funeral Home
600 Countryside Drive Columbia City, Indiana 46725

1:00 PM - 8:00 PM


DeMoney-Grimes a Life Story Funeral Home
600 Countryside Drive Columbia City, Indiana 46725

10:00 AM
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