Joyce Winfrey Bridges, a retired educator, died on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at Bryn Mawr Hospital. She was 86.
She was born on Nov. 14, 1932, in Philadelphia. She grew up as the only child of the late Edward C. Winfrey and Azalia Harris Winfrey.
Growing up in Philadelphia, she attended the local public schools, graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in June 1950. Bridges then attended Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio, and graduated in 1954 with highest honors. She was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society. She earned a master’s degree in education from Temple University in 1959.
Bridges taught in Camden, New Jersey, and in the Philadelphia public school system, including the William D. Kelly School and the Alfred M. Greenfield School. She excelled in teaching young children, exciting them with learning through her inventive methods.
Bridges taught kindergarten and was appointed an instructional support teacher, passing on her methods to younger faculty whom she mentored.
“She really saw the good in children,” said Constance Clayton, former superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.
“She understood the rights of children to be taught and to learn. She respected parents and they respected her. People clamored to have their child in her classroom.”
She met a young dentist, the late Dr. Sidney R. Bridges, in the summer of 1960 through mutual friends. Their friendship blossomed and they were married for 52 years, making their longtime home in Wynnefield. Two children were born to their union, Sidney E. Bridges and Sheila A. Bridges. Her son, Sidney, a teacher and administrator, is a well-regarded professional in Friends education and in the independent school community. Her daughter, Sheila, is an interior designer and author whose creative work has been featured in numerous publications and museum exhibitions throughout the country.
Bridges was a lifelong student. She loved reading, history and art. She developed an avid interest in African-American art and antique glass, and enjoyed sharing the history of her collected pieces with her friends. She took enrichment courses at the Barnes Foundation upon her retirement. Recently, she began learning watercolor painting and sculpting. She also enjoyed traveling with her husband, family and friends.
Bridges was a member of the Overbrook Presbyterian Church and was very active in the Rosemont community. She served on many boards and did volunteer work. Her family said she was esteemed for her dynamic ambassadorship, outspoken advocacy and warm welcoming of new residents.
Bridges’ legacy is her love for her children and her husband, who died Dec. 1, 2012.
In addition to her son and daughter, she is survived by four goddaughters and other relatives and friends.
A private service will be held during the last weekend in September.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in Joyce Winfrey Bridges’ name to support the educational mission of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) at 128 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.