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A tribute to...

Keith Bridgeman

Geelong Advertiser

Published: Thu 30th Jun 2022

Keith Bridgeman loved playing bowls and being part of the Drysdale Bowling Club community. He’s pictured playing Div 1 Bowls for the club. Pic: Peter Ristevski
Keith Bridgeman loved playing bowls and being part of the Drysdale Bowling Club community. He’s pictured playing Div 1 Bowls for the club. Pic: Peter Ristevski

Drysdale's Keith Bridgeman died at the age of 70. At a service, hosted by Kings Funerals, his daughter Amanda McCarthy paid tribute to her father's unconditional love and resilience after the devastating loss of his wife and daughter.

"You were my comfort place, there was never any judgement, only love, it was always love," she told family and friends.

With permission, we share her moving eulogy.

Amanda McCarthy pictured on her wedding day with her beloved father Keith Bridgeman.
Amanda McCarthy pictured on her wedding day with her beloved father Keith Bridgeman.

To Dad,

It's been really hard over the last two years not being able to see you that much. Our phone calls were the next best thing. I can't even begin to imagine not ringing you every day. I always looked forward to our chats, it didn't matter how big or small you were always there to listen.

We cried, we laughed, we reminisced - you even gave me the hard truths I needed to hear. If I was worried you would say, "You'll be right love!" If I was sad you would say, "Chin up love!"

You always made the time for me even when you were busy. You were my comfort place, there was never any judgement, only love, it was always love.

How lucky I was to call you my Dad. You were so proud of me no matter what I did. I could see it in your eyes and hear it in your voice every time we spoke.

One of the things you were proudest of is the family I have created. You adored your grandkids, Callum, Willow and Harper, so much, even talking about them would bring tears to your eyes. If you could have hand-picked a husband for me, you would have chosen Justin yourself. You loved him like your own son from the very first time you met him.

A perfect dad is how Amanda McCarthy remembers her father Keith. She’s pictured above with her husband Justin, father Keith and late mum Janette.
A perfect dad is how Amanda McCarthy remembers her father Keith. She’s pictured above with her husband Justin, father Keith and late mum Janette.

You always let me know how proud you were, but I never told you how proud I was. Everything I am as a person is because of you and the amazing childhood you gave me, despite your own struggles.

You lost it all, your whole world as you knew it was gone: your daughter, your wife. No one would blame you for being bitter and angry with the world, but not you! You picked yourself up and moved to Drysdale - you knew no one, you had to start your life over.

You quickly made friends with your amazing neighbours, you joined the local bowling club, started volunteering. It really didn't take long for you to start a whole new life. You touched so many people with your kindness and generosity. You quickly had your own community backing you. Your social life, your friends and your passion for bowls were all so important to you and you created all of this on your own.

The Bridgeman brothers: from left, Geoff, Keith, Stan and Steven.
The Bridgeman brothers: from left, Geoff, Keith, Stan and Steven.

I admire you for your strength and courage, your ability to offer so much love and still manage to smile despite your own grief over the years. Nobody is perfect, but the dad you were to me was my perfect. It was always enough and I wouldn't change a single thing.

Everyone you loved knew it, there was never any doubt. People say live each day like it's your last and I can honestly say this is how you lived, you truly loved life and lived every moment of it.

You shared 34 of the best years with mum and just when you lost hope that you would ever find love again, you found Wendy. You were set to start your next chapter …

Keith Bridgeman found love again with partner Wendy Gwinnell-Jones.
Keith Bridgeman found love again with partner Wendy Gwinnell-Jones.

To Wendy, I am so very sorry your time with Dad wasn't long enough. I am so very sorry you won't grow old together like you both had planned. But most of all I want to thank you for being the reason Dad found his happy again. He absolutely adored you and I'm so glad he was able to love and be loved again. For this I am eternally grateful to you.

Dad, you're now reunited with your two little angels.

I will forever miss you … I will always love you … Until we meet again …

Originally published as Tribute to Drysdale dad who rebuilt his life after tragic loss


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