Benjamin Bridges, Jr. passed away March 31st in Alexandria, Virginia. He was born in 1936, to the late Ben and Lillian Bridges of Leesburg.
Voted “most likely to succeed” by the class of 1954, he graduated from Leesburg High School, and attended Duke University. He played saxophone in the Blue Devil marching band for 4 years, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Ben earned his PhD in Economics at John’s Hopkins University in 1962, and was selected for the Wilson, Danforth, HB. Earhart, and Brookings Institution fellowships. Between 1962 and 1965 he taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Later in 1965, he began a 51-year, civil service career at the Social Security Administration, serving as a branch Chief and Division Director of Economic Research where he published, co-authored and edited papers that were foundational in forwarding the future of research for SSA. He loved his work as an economist almost as much as those he worked with over 5 decades.
Basketball was his first sports love with lacrosse his second. Following in his mother’s footsteps as a girls’ basketball coach, he coached recreational league basketball in Alexandria for over 40 years, starting with his daughters’ teams and continuing straight through to coaching his granddaughter for 4+ years and his grandson for 2. It was a family affair with Puma and Ann serving as assistant coaches. From early 1970 through 2021 – over 50 years – he attended nearly every game his daughters and grandchildren ever played, from field hockey, to basketball, lacrosse, soccer– at all levels of competition. Ben was more than a coach and avid supporter, he also played pickup basketball himself, religiously, until he was 80.
Ben is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth Bridges Cornick and Ann Clark Bridges; his grandchildren, Elizabeth Macon Cornick and Benjamin Keene Cornick; and his sons’-in-law, Carter Cornick and Ted Widmayer, in addition to Betsy Raymond, his companion over the last 4 years. His wife, Ruth Bridges predeceased him in 2014.
A memorial service will be held at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, Zabriskie Chapel, June 18. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Saint Stephen’s and Saint Agnes scholarship fund that Ben established in honor of Ruth Bridges.