“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie
The utterly fabulous Janis Grace Bridges succumbed to liver cancer on January 25, 2015. Janis passed quietly in her sleep without pain or distress at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.
Janis was the only child of James Bridges and Margaret Bridges (nee Jaap), born October 1, 1943 in Jackson, Mississippi. The family moved to Louisiana when Janis was young. She had quite a few adventures as a young adult, most notably as a bad-ass Coast Guard search and rescue crew stationed in Hawaii. When that adventure was over, Janis returned to the mainland (Louisiana and Texas) and began learning computer programming, which she would do for the majority of her life. Several other (mis)adventures to the jungles of Central America and the frozen tundra of Alaska ensued before Janis settled down in the Seattle area in 1996. Janis returned to Albania Plantation in Louisiana for a few years between 2002-2004 to help care for her ailing step-mother Emily Cyr Bridges, until Emily’s passing. Janis stayed at Albania through the filming of the movie All the Kings Men and was tickled to meet Kate Winslet. Although Janis loved Acadiana and the lovely Cyr family, Seattle was Home.
Janis never lost her love for all things nautical, and continued to sail and make sailor’s knots (in just about anything) for the rest of her life. Janis used to watch roller derby on t.v. with her mother and when roller derbies began again after 2000, Janis jumped back into the hobby. She put her computer know-how to work and filmed the bouts and made them available online. She filmed for several teams, but most notably, the Rat City Roller Girls, the Dockyard Dames and the Oly Rollers. It was a labor of love for Janis, who traveled to the bouts by car and air, even once calling for legal advice about how to get a 5‘ rubber rat on an airplane. She tried her hand at organic gardening and ended up with bushels of squash. The hobby that she shared with her daughter was baseball. The two spent Sunday afternoons in the 1970’s watching the Houston Astros play, and after Safeco Field was built, the two would meet for Mariners games.
Janis was preceded in death by both parents in 1968, and by her step mother in 2003. She is survived by a daughter, Rachel. A Big Gay Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, February 20, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the Calamus Auditorium at the Gay City Health Project Building, 517 E. Pike St., Seattle, WA. www.gaycity.org
Memorials can be made to Lambert House of Seattle, a LGBT Youth Organization at www.lamberthouse.org
Adieu belle dame! Now you can cause trouble on a much grander scale!
It would be most interesting to see where you incarnate next. Peace to you and yours. - Darla Wells