A huge crowd gathered at the First Baptist Church in San Marcos to bid their final farewell to Hays County Sheriff Allen Bridges on Wednesday. The funeral service was jam-packed with family, friends and law enforcement officers from all over Texas, overwhelmed with emotion and sorrowful tears.”I’ve lost a good friend, mentor, teacher, instructor,” said Hays County Sheriff Deputy Mike Thielen. “And on the personal side, I lost a Christian brother.”
Bridges passing was felt strongly in Hays County and throughout Texas; and the Governor’s Office was no exception. “There are no words that can sooth the pain of such loss,” stated Texas Governor Rick Perry in a letter. “But I hope you will be encouraged by the legacy Allen created by taking each and every day as an opportunity to make a difference.”
Reverend David Smith, who officiated the service, said Bridges was a man of great character, principle, and moral standing. “He is with Jesus now,” he said. “This is not the end, but a beginning.”
After the service, a funeral procession left the church at approximately 11:45 a.m. en route to Phillips Cemetery, just south of Dripping Springs, were Bridges was interred.
Bridges died unexpectedly Saturday morning after collapsing in his Dripping Springs home. He was 62 years old. The cause of death remains unknown, but speculation points toward a “massive heart attack,” according to Lt. Leroy Opiela.
“It certainly wasn’t anticipated and he didn’t have any health problems to my knowledge,” said Thielen. “It was a shock and a great loss… we’ve suffered a great family loss.”
According to Bridges’ biography, he leaves behind his wife Kathy, of 36 years, along with five children and 11 grandchildren. Bridges first joined the Hays County Sheriff’s Office in August of 1997 as a crime prevention deputy, after retiring with 25 years of service to the Austin Police Department. In August of 2005 he was appointed by the Commissioners Court to serve as Sheriff, after Montague retired, and was then elected to that post in 2006 and again in 2008.
“He was a highly regarded Peace Officer, a man of integrity in the long tradition of principle Texas law,” stated Perry.
by Andy Sevilla
Photo by Mary Elizabeth
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