Chapter Eternal

Obituaries

Join us in mourning those brothers who have entered the Chapter Eternal.

Herbert M. Bridge, Alpha Mu (University of Washington) 1946

As active-duty military Herb served his country in two wars and retired from the Naval Reserve as a two-star Rear Admiral; as a community leader he worked to strength Seattle’s core and its civic organizations, earning the moniker “Mr. Downtown”; and as an entrepreneur he practiced respect for customers and employees alike to grow, along with his brother Bob, Ben Bridge Jeweler into a chain of 90-plus stores in 11 states and British Columbia. Herb started working at Ben Bridge as soon as he could see over the counter. His father, Ben, mentored him on the principle of integrity in business, to honor everyone – customers, suppliers and employees, rich and poor – with equal measure of care and fairness. It was an easy lesson for Herb, who wanted the best for every person he met and the place that he loved. Herb was a Seattleite through and through. Born on March 14, 1925, at Virginia Mason Hospital, he spent his early life on the shores of Lake Washington and in the halls of McGilvra Elementary. He walked the streets of his city, from Capitol Hill to the Kirkland ferry on the lake to sell newspapers, from school to Fourth and Pike to work in the family’s store, and many places in between. Frequent outings with his father to fish, hike and camp, along with skiing and trips to the Olympics, instilled a deep appreciation for the area’s natural beauty. When Herb graduated from Franklin High School in 1942, with his father’s permission, he enlisted in the Navy at age 17. He enjoyed everything about the Navy: the uniforms, the orderliness and the sense of purpose. After boot camp he was selected for officer training and then served aboard a carrier escort off the coast of Okinawa. Upon discharge in 1946, Herb’s dedication to the Navy and love of country motivated him to join the Reserve. He returned home to work at Ben Bridge, finish at the UW, and start with the 13th Naval District.  His degree complete, Herb set out to find a wife. His curiosity was piqued by a friend’s description of a young Shirley Selesnick, a petite, attractive red-head who’d graduated first in her class from the UW’s School of Pharmacy. Right after meeting Shirley, Herb told his friend that he planned to marry her. On their third date Herb and Shirley hiked to the top of Monte Cristo Peak and came down engaged. Their wedding on January 25, 1948, would be the start of a 60-year partnership of love, support and activism.Herb and Shirley’s first son Jon was just three months old when the Korean Conflict broke out and Herb was recalled to active duty. He served with Forward Air Control in Korea and returned home as a lieutenant with a renewed commitment to the Reserve. The demands of the Reserve failed to slow his civilian life. Over the next few years Herb welcomed his second son, Dan; earned certification through the Gemological Institute of America; and at the age of 29, along with Bob, took over the family business. Herb and Bob opened the second Ben Bridge in Southcenter, quickly followed by Northgate, Tacoma and Alderwood malls. Herb recognized the opportunities in mall shopping, and also the threat to the vibrancy of downtown Seattle. He joined a small group of organizers to form what would become the Seattle Downtown Association. This was followed by leadership roles in the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Seattle Rotary Club. It was also a segue to his eventual pivotal roles with United Way of King County, Seattle Convention Center, Seattle Housing Resources Group, Good Will Games, and Washington Athletic Club. Herb served on countless other boards and committees to support affordable housing, education, gemology, civic life, local sports, our national parks and the Jewish community.  By the time Warren Buffet bought Ben Bridge Jeweler in 2000, Herb had retired with the highest rank awarded a reservist, two-star Rear Admiral, and he and Shirley had moved into one of downtown’s first high-rise condos. He was still playing handball, riding motorcycles, skiing and loving dogs. His son Jon and nephew Ed had taken over the business, where three of the next generation are working today. The self-described optimist might arrive at his Ben Bridge desk mid morning, after taking a guest to a Rotary meeting, delivering See’s Candies to a sick friend, and having coffee at the WAC to mentor a business student. With Herb, the activity and the giving never stopped.  Herb lived life large yet, without a doubt, nothing meant more to him than his family. He will be missed by them all, including his partner Edie Hilliard; his sons and their wives, Captain Jon and Justice Bobbe Bridge, and Rabbi Daniel Bridge and Simcha Shtull; his grandchildren, Rebecca (Evan Lundgren), Jake (Roxie), Zachary (Tawny) and Don Ellis (Sarah); his five great grandchildren; and his brother Bob and sister-in-law Bobbi. The family would like to thank his caretaker, Pat Nolan, and his physician, Dr. Doug Paauw.

Thomas M. O’Leary, Xi (Georgia Tech) 1974

Colonel Thomas M. O’Leary, USMC (Ret.), passed away June 5, 2018, age 66, surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by his wife Karen (Hughes) O’Leary; daughter, Amy and son, TC; his brother, Neal O’Leary and wife Nancy O’Leary.

Thomas served in the United States Marine Corps for 26 years, retiring as a Colonel. After his retirement from the Marines Corps, he served as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and board member of Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

 

 

 

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