Arlene ‘Dolly’ Bridgewater

By on December 20, 2012

Arlene “Dolly” Bridgewater, 82, of St. Charles, formerly of Glen Ellyn, Ill., passed away peacefully, surrounded by the love and prayers of her family on Sunday evening, Dec. 16, 2012.

She was born in Chicago on May 7, 1930.

Dolly grew up in Chicago and attended local Catholic schools. She graduated in 1948.

Lawrence Dalton Bridgewater Jr. caught Dolly’s eye, and soon he captured her heart. They were united in marriage in 1950.

They continued to make their home in Chicago. While Larry served his country with the U.S. Navy, Dolly kept the home fires going. Later, they resided on Euclid Avenue in Glen Ellyn.

In addition to selling real estate in Glen Ellyn alongside her husband, Dolly worked at Ball Seed Company in West Chicago, Ill., and also spent ten years at Homemakers in Downers Grove, Ill., where she was John M. Smith’s personal secretary.

Dolly was a part of “The Girls Club,” which began in grade school and grew to incorporate all of her best friends. She also was a member of St. Petronilla Catholic Church in Glen Ellyn and St. John Newman Catholic Church in St. Charles.

She loved to water ski and did so into her mid-60s, with one hand on the tow rope and the other holding her nose.

Other than her husband, Dolly had a special place in her heart for Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones, and played their music as often as possible.

She was a force to be reckoned with when it came to playing cards, and in later years she made a name for herself when she moved into Carroll Towers in St. Charles.

Summers brought the promise of trips to their summer home at Lake Delavan in Wisconsin. Thousands of memories were made along the shore, but many more were made on her numerous trips around the country and also the world. Jamaica, Hawaii, Cancun, a cruise to Alaska, train trips to Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Door County, Wisc., were only a few of her favorite destinations.

In her later years, she liked to crochet many blankets for her loved ones. She was a long-time and fervent fan of her beloved Chicago Bears, and she let them know with every win and loss. Above all, she was most proud of her family and always made the most of the time she spent in their company.

She is survived by five children, Kathy (Steven) Wright, Steven (Elizabeth) Bridgewater, Kim (Bart) Shaver, Richard Bridgewater and Lawrence Bridgewater III; eight grandchildren, Michael (Shelly) Wright and their two daughters, Peyton and Presley, Dan Field, Josh Bridgewater, Michael (Stephanie) McCutcheon, Brittany Polly, Jake Cinkus and Nicole Bridgewater, and Isabella Bridgewater; three siblings, Joyce (Tony) Buccola, Bob (Trish) Buss and Jan (Terry) Kenny; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a family of friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband Larry; one son, Mark Bridgewater; and her sister Gerrianne.

Visitation, with a service to celebrate her life, was held Wednesday at Conley Funeral Home. Private family interment will follow cremation at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in their name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Arlene Bridgewater Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at, where you can also find her full-life story.