Carol Mae Bridges, 86

Published 11:04 am Monday, March 24, 2014

Carol Mae Bridges, 86, of Austin, Minn., died Friday, March 21, 2014, in Rochester at Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys Campus, surrounded by loving family members.





Carol was born on May 19, 1927, to Vernon and Anna (Busack) Anderson in rural Vesta, Minn. She was the youngest of three daughters and was raised on her family’s farm near Vesta. Carol graduated from Redwood Falls High School in 1945. She then attended Mankato State Teachers’ College from 1945 to 1947, and obtained her teaching certification. From 1947 to 1954, she taught fifth grade in Springfield and Pipestone Public Schools, both in Minnesota. Carol later returned to Mankato State University in 1969, to complete her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  While teaching in Pipestone, Minn., Carol met Frank W. Bridges, who was an English teacher at Pipestone High School. They were married in 1954, and later moved to Austin when Frank accepted a teaching position at Austin High School.Together they raised three children.

A devoted mother, Carol was very involved with her children’s school activities and frequently served as a volunteer, both in the classroom and as a member of PTA. She also served as a den mother for Cub Scouts and later formed a Girl Scout Brownie troop, hosting after-school meetings in her home. Carol extended this devotion to her grandchildren and throughout the years attended numerous sporting events, concerts, and plays. In the community, Carol did volunteer work for the Mower County Historical Society, often donating her time during the Mower County Fair. She also assisted with local blood drives, made phone calls at the local headquarters for the National Democratic Party, and was a loyal supporter of her husband’s work in building a strong college and community theatre program in Austin.

Email newsletter signup

Carol’s church home was Holy Cross Lutheran. She was loved and respected by the congregation for her tireless work with the Ladies Aid, of which she served as treasurer for many years. Carol utilized her sewing talents and spent many hours in making quilts for missions with other church members; and also served at numerous church suppers, sang in the church choir, and taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School when her children were young. Finally, Carol truly enjoyed her role as a homemaker. She was an excellent seamstress and made many clothes for her children and grandchildren. She also loved to cook and bake for her family and friends. In her leisure time, she enjoyed reading, doing crossword puzzles, and tending her flowers.

Survivors include her husband, Frank, of Austin; son, Tom (Sharon Bridges) of Austin; daughter, Jane (Ray Grund) of Albert Lea, Minn.; daughter, Mary (Rick Orpen) of St. Peter; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews; and a sister, Lois Larson, 95, of Marshall, Minn. She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Naomi.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 27, 2014, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Austin with Rev. Brian Krueger, officiating. Interment will follow the service at Grandview Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26, at the Worlein Funeral Home in Austin and for one hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday. Memorials can be directed to Holy Cross Lutheran Ladies Aid in memory of Carol.

Condolences may be expressed to the family online at