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Dec. 1, 1933-Jan. 8, 2014

MOUNT OLIVE -- John Edward "Tooter, Junebug" Bridgers Jr. died Jan. 8, 2014.

He was born Dec. 1, 1933, in Beaufort County to the late John Bridgers St. and Malvious Bonner Bridgers Wells.

Junebug "J.B." received his 12 years of education at Mother of Mercy Catholic School in Washington. Soon after, he continued his education at North Carolina Central University in Durham, where he majored in music and minored in math and science.

While attending North Carolina Central University, he played the trumpet in the Cool Collegians Band.

After completing his education, J.B. spent three years of his life teaching at P.W. Moore in Faison. He also taught at Calypso Elementary during the nationwide integration of schools. His teaching career also included time at B.F. Grady Elementary in Duplin County.

Junebug was later employed at Mount Olive College, where, for 13 years, he was the "Mail-Man." He enjoyed working with his boss lady, Margaret Wells.

Junebug's love for music began at the tender age of five.

After graduating from North Carolina Central University, he taught during the week, and played gigs on the weekends. His first gig was with the Dave Bryant Five Band.

Soon after, he moved on to play with the Might Blue Notes. His final musical journey was with Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts of Chapel Hill. They played throughout the county at various universities and frat houses.

Tooter had backed up for famous performers such as Millie Jackson, James Brown, Clarence Carter and numerous others.

Until his health began to decline, Junebug enjoyed taking daily walks around town, where he was very well known.

He was a football fanatic, and also took pleasure in visiting various churches and checking on the sick.

Forever cherishing his loving memory are his wife and childhood sweetheart, Erma Gibbs of Mount Olive; a son, bishop Keith Bridgers (Vivian) of Goldsboro; two daughters, Jewel Bridgers of Goldsboro and Mal Jones (Glenn) of Dudley; four grandchildren, Alexis and Brooke (Mal), Brandie Bridgers (Keith) and Julian Trepagnier (Jewel); a brother-in-law, Frederick Roberson of Washington; two sisters-in-law, Johnnie Langley of Vero Beach, Fla., and Judy Bridgers of Denver, Colo.; an aunt; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to his parents, Junebug was preceded in death by his daughter, Kathy Ann Bridgers, and brother, Curtis Ray Bridgers.

Funeral services were held at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Holy Ghost Cathedral, 812 E. James S., Mount Olive. The Rev. Preston Grimes and the Rev. Albert Mills officiated.


Published in Obituaries on January 16, 2014 1:50 PM