August 31, 1961 – April 19, 2017
"The world is not as bright today for we all have lost a bright ray of sunshine"
Michael Arthur Bridges was born in Winnipeg on August 31, 1961. He was predeceased by his Mother, Patricia (Pat), whom he loved dearly. He leaves behind his best friend and soul mate, Janice O’Leary (nee: Anderson); his siblings: Kathy (JR.), David, Cyndi (Mathias), Suzy (Duncan), and Laura (David); nieces: Jenni, Lily, Makaela, and Faith; nephews: Billy, Jackson, Markus, and Liam; great niece Daisy; great nephews: Max and Nixon; cousins: Michael (Donna) and Shauna (Frank); second cousins: Suzanne, Stephanie, Adam and Ruby.
Mike’s family moved to Calgary in 1970 and he became involved in his favorite sport, lacrosse. His team from Braeside were the Alberta Bantam Champions in 1974; his team number was 17. When the family moved to Winnipeg in 1975, lacrosse was not an option for Mike and that is when he began a life-long bond with the guitar. He got himself a paper route and saved every penny to purchase an electric guitar. Pat agreed to pay for lessons as well as half the cost of the guitar. Mike spent countless hours learning songs by ear using records as his teacher. The first song he learned was “Stairway to Heaven”, which has one of the longest lead guitar solos in a rock song.
Mike went to J.B. Mitchell Junior High and then on to Tec Voc High School, where he took automotive mechanics, and became very involved in the music program at Tec where he played lead guitar in the school band Company Five. During his school years, Mike met some of the greatest friends of his lifetime and he maintained a lot of those relationships to the end of his days. One of those friends was Janice, who re-entered his life and became his best friend and soul mate throughout his final years.
Mike got a summer job with Conklin Shows in 1977 and he worked each summer on the Zipper until 1980. His family remembers him coming home at the end of each season with a huge amount of change that dropped out of Zipper riders’ pockets.Mike began and finished his career with Ford as a mechanic. He started it in the early 80’s and spent over 30 years working on cars, from doing the basics to becoming one of the most valuable Ford technicians. Throughout those years he continued to study and upgrade by taking exams. This left him with stacks of certificates. At work, he made countless close friends, and many of those friendships have continued over three decades.
Mike's real passion was playing guitar. He was an integral part of many bands over the years. His last band, Oh So Popular, became well known in Winnipeg as a fun-loving, dance-party group that played many past hits from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Justin, Brian and Blair were not only his bandmates, they were also his beloved friends.
In April 2015, Mike and Janice travelled to New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival. It was Mike’s dream to go there and they had an absolute blast. Headliners at that Festival included Elton John, No Doubt, Lenny Kravitz and Chicago, to name a few. In 2016, Mike and Janice travelled quite extensively. They went back to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival, to San Diego, and finally took a road trip to BC in the fall to visit his friends and family. Mike was very excited to drive all the way through the mountains to the coast. They spent time in Calgary, Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, Victoria, and Whistler. He enjoyed seeing his sisters and their families in the beautiful west coast paradise. Janice and Mike ended their road trip in Banff, where they had a great time at the Hot Springs with Shauna and her family.
Mike was extremely talented, from being an amazing artist to an awe-inspiring musician to a brilliant mechanic. His touch was golden. On weekends, he loved doing crosswords, jamming with his friends and having backyard BBQ’s.
Mike’s easy-going, fun loving and witty personality attracted friendships far and wide. He was a friend to so very many people and left a mark on everyone who crossed his path. Although his time with us was far too short, the impact he made was immense. He will be greatly missed by his family and all his friends.
We loved him beyond words.
Janice and the family would like to thank the staff at CancerCare. They made his difficult journey tolerable.
A Catholic mass will be said in his name at St. John Brebeuf Parish, 1707 John Brebeuf Place, Winnipeg, MB at 9:15 am, on August 30th, 2017.
"Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones" – Keith Richards
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