Wayne Stephen Bridgham

MINOT – Wayne Stephen Bridgham, 74, passed to his rest in Jesus on Jan. 18, 2022, at his home. Wayne was born on Oct. 14, 1947 to Erland and Marjorie Bridgham at Central Maine General Hospital in Lewiston. He was the fifth child and the second son. There would be a total of seven children.

The Bridgham Family was one of the early founders of the town of Minot in the late 1700s. Wayne’s entire life was spent on the Bridgham Family Farm on Center Minot Hill in Minot. Following his father’s sudden and untimely death, Wayne became the rock on which his mother leaned.

Farming was his passion. He purchased the family farm in the early 1970s becoming, at least, the fourth Bridgham to own and operate the farm. In addition, for several years, he, John and Joan Bridgham Gray operated a farm in New Gloucester simultaneously. In later years, his oldest nephew, Wade McCall, assisted him in day to day farm operations.

Wayne was educated in several local schools including Auburn Seventh-day Adventist Church School, Minot Consolidated School, Pine Tree Academy, Freeport and Edward Little High School, Auburn from which he graduated in 1966. He briefly attended Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Mass.

Wayne was a faithful, lifelong member of the Auburn Seventh-day Adventist Church. He occupied several church leadership positions during his life.

He married Sharon Russell in 1977 becoming a loving stepfather to Dwight, Christopher and Christina Russell and father of Gretchen Bridgham.

Early in life, Wayne’s singing ability was observed. His mother persistently nurtured his talent ensuring he had music lessons. His voice has been compared to the great Pavarotti. A Sun-Journal reporter dubbed him “The Singing Farmer’. He was regularly asked to perform in many local churches and functions. No family wedding was considered complete until Wayne had sung at least one solo. He was always happy to oblige and was often joined by his sister, Lois.

Family traditions were important to Wayne. He enjoyed hosting the Corn Boil, an annual tradition started in the 1950s by his father and uncle to honor their mother’s birthday. It later became a time of friendly fellowship. Wayne’s tractor drawn hayride was a particular high point.

Generosity was a guiding principle in Wayne’s life. He unselfishly and ungrudgingly shared his resources and home. The Farm was known to be a shelter from the storm. He welcomed all with a smile and a pithy statement.

Wayne will be severely missed by his family and a of host friends. Mourning his passing is his daughter Gretchen, her husband Alex Poland and their children, Grace and Abner; his stepchildren Christopher and Christina Russell; his close, longtime friend, Janis Batron; his sisters and their families, Claire Ellen and Malcolm Warner, Patricia and Jerry McCall, Cynthia Gibb Bridgham (Bruce’s wife), Martha and Edward Scott, Joan and John Gray, Lois and Gary Merwin; their children Wade and Benjamin McCall; Blaine, Kimberly and Rachael Bridgham; Shelley (Scott) and David Maffucci and Andrew and Joy Scott; Jessica (Gray) and Gary Waldron, Joshua and Leah Gray, Jerusha (Gray) and Jason Carney; Emmett and Jenny Merwin, Miles and Mary Merwin, Emily Merwin; 19 great-nieces and nephews; paternal cousins Daniel and Jane Bridgham; Harold Bridgham and his children Kelsea, Kate, and Kaleb; Bonnie Bridgham; Gerard “Gerry” Bridgham and family; maternal aunt, Caroline Roberts and a host of maternal cousins and their families. His family is greatly comforted by the promise of Jesus’ soon return and the great resurrection.

He is predeceased by his parents; his brother, Bruce Adams Bridgham; and stepson, Dwight Russell.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Auburn Seventh-day Adventist Church at 11 a.m., on Jan. 30, followed by a potluck meal. To share online condolences with the family please go to http://www.chandlerfunerals.com. Arrangements are under the care of Chandler Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 45 Main St. South Paris.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the

Brass Knobs Working Steer 4H Club

C/O Cumberland County 4-H,

75 Clearwater Dr., Suite 104,

Falmouth, ME 04105.

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