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John Henry Bridge and
Alvira Dickson

Written by Avilda B. H. Coleman

My father John Henry Bridge left Coalville, Utah at the age of eleven years with some of his family members in a covered wagon pulled by one team of horses, and also one riding pony in early May 1900. Some days this little company travelled twenty-five miles, other times it was less. After many hardships of travel, they arrived in tent town Magrath the last day of June.

The challenges that they faced, produced lives of increased strength and endurance, as they journeyed onward with faith in every footstep. Humbly yet anxiously these pioneers looked to the future.

My father's mother died when he was only a few months old in Coalville. After their arrival in Magrath, Alberta, the father James Bridge bought a building lot in the north east side of town and there built a two roomed home for himself and his young family of four, Mary, Annie, Orson and John. James worked hard to provide for his family, his firm testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel was firmly planted in the heart of each of his children and they became stalwarts in the LDS. church. At a young age they learned to love the Lord.

John received his formal training in the Magrath schools and also at the Knight Academy in Raymond. In October 1911 this fine six foot three inch young man John received a mission call to the Eastern States mission field. With Ben E. Rich as his mission president, John was required to memorize scripture, because of his diligence in accomplishing this task, he became an outstanding teacher and public speaker. During his lifetime he spoke at over eighty funerals. He had a natural talent for singing, his deep base voice was enjoyed in Male Quartets and also the male chorus of which he belonged, he was a choir member all of his active life.

Besides owning a small farm he earned the living as foreman of a road-building crew on the secondary roads around Southern Alberta. As a community builder at various times he was town policeman, a town council member, chairman of the hospital board, a school board member and mayor of the town. At church he was Sunday-school teacher and young men's mutual improvement president, besides being a loving and tender husband and father.

After retirement he did many endowments by proxy for the dead in the Alberta temple. One year he did the most in our stake numbering 500.

My mother Alvira Dickson Bridge moved with some family members from Wyoming to Magrath in May 1913. She was the ninth child of a family of twelve.

My parents were married December 17, 1914. They had five children, three girls and two boys. Avilda married Duane Harker, 2- Garth Coleman, Betty married Pingree Tanner, Geraldine married Henning Anderson, James married Margaret Allen, John married Maxine Dudley.

My two sisters and their companions and my two brothers and their companions have each filled two church missions.

The gospel is to make bad men good and good men better. Also the gospel is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

My mother Alvira was a very well educated and talented person. Because she was so filled with the arts, she was qualified to be a loving wife and an outstanding homemaker and mother.

Both John and Alvira were active members of both church and town committees. As I grow old I realize the priceless gifts our parents gave us for deep appreciation for the gospel and love and affection for each other. Sweet and precious memories cause me to realize our feet leave our parents home but our hearts never do.

John and Alvira have 213 direct descendants.

Alvira Bridge directed many home dramatics, She was an excellent seamstress and designer, besides sewing most of our clothes, She sewed many costumes, including woman's mohair hats, she helped women of our stake sew their own temple clothing. While she was ward Relief Society president she helped trim the burial caskets the priesthood made. When she was Relief Society president the money needed was earned by the membership, she assisted in sponsoring Bazaars. The ladies sewed kitchen aprons and children's clothing, making quilts, braiding rugs, weaving baskets, doing a great deal of baking and making various crafts to enhance the homes, all to be sold. They catered to dinners etc. Yet never did these dedicated women of the church say:

  • I have planned and worked for the church too much.
  • I have studied and prayed too much.
  • I have done my best too much.

In spite of their individual problems they were always willing to help for a needy cause. Later Alvira was a councillor in the Stake Relief Society.

I am convinced that my parents lived noble and productive lives, with faith in every footstep. They were not perfect, they made mistakes along the way but they diligently tried.

Two days before my father's death, he repeated all verses of " Come Come Ye Saints " knowing his time on earth was over soon, he emphasized: "All is well, all is well!".

They both lived to be 85 years old. We honour and respect the standards our parents taught and lived by.

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Mary Tollestrup