- David Moses Bridges, 54, passed away Friday, January 20, 2017, at home surrounded by his loving family following a courageous battle with cancer. David was born in Portland on May 17, 1962, son of Earl Bridges and Hilda (Soctomah) Lewis.
David spent his childhood in South Portland, Maine. As a young man, he attended Unity College and earned his Degree in Forestry. Later, he traveled widely, eventually settling in San Francisco, CA, where he lived for many years. In the middle of his life, David returned home to Maine to reconnect with his family and the land that he loved. He attended The Boat School in Eastport, and later went to work at Benjamin River Marine and Brooklin Boat Yard, both in Brooklin, ME.
It was during this time that David found the work that would become his life. While taking a class on "Traditional Birch Bark Canoe Making" at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, he became friends with Steve Cayard, the instructor. He would go on to apprentice and teach the class with Steve. In the years that followed, David developed his craft with passion, exploring all aspects of the history and technology. As his skill grew, he shared the craft in the Native communities, museums, schools, institutions and to all of us who were fortunate to know him. As his art flowered, David became a recognized master, widely sought after for commissions, teachings and lectures. His accomplishments, awards and accolades are far too numerous to mention. They would fill this page and more.
David was a proud Wabanaki, a Passamaquoddy native. His family has lived in this land for 12,000 years. His people, the Wabanaki, developed the canoe hull form that we all know over the last several thousand years. By the time David came to the craft, it was a highly developed and elegant art form which perfectly combines the talents of humanity with the gifts of the forest, to the enrichment and grace of both.
David was a fierce (and effective) environmentalist. Throughout his life, he walked bravely and directly into many battles for protection of the earth's air, water, land, and creatures. He understood in his heart his deep connection to the living world around him. He was an eloquent speaker and was admired even by his adversaries. He spoke with humor, clarity and honesty. In the native tradition they would say that he had the great ability to make the truth sweet.
Above all, David was an extraordinary human being. The likes of which you rarely see these days, and the kind which the world needs a lot more of. He was a deeply honorable man, a lover of life (he lived it to the fullest). Loved by everyone who knew him. He was a committed husband, father, son, brother and friend. You could not be unhappy when David was around. He had a quick wit and a sharp intelligence and would always leave you laughing. He had a huge presence in this world and will be deeply missed. We will cherish the memories of the times we shared, carry forth the energy and spirit that he exemplified and he will live in our hearts forever.
David was predeceased by his paternal grandparents, George and Clara Bridges; maternal grandparents Simon and Beatrice Soctomah; and an uncle Harvey. Surviving are his loving wife Patricia; his mother and step-father, Hilda and Sidney Lewis; his father Earl Bridges of South Portland; three children, Tobias, Sebastian and Natanis; sister Jennifer; brother, Darel Gabriel: brother Matthew and partner Colleen; father-in-law and mother-in-law Oscar Ayala and Ruth Rocabado Ayala; two brothers-in-law, Gustavo and Oscar; three sisters-in-law, Tania, Lorena, and Claudia; "The Aunties" and numerous uncles and cousins.
Visiting hours will be held at David's home at Sipayik, Pleasant Point, beginning 12 noon Monday, January 23, 2017, until 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, January 25. A traditional Native American Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. Kevin J. Martin, 12 noon, Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at Beatrice Rafferty School, Pleasant Point. Burial will follow in the Tribal Cemetery. Donations in David's memory may be sent to The DMB Fund, PO Box 45, Eastport, ME 04631, or via PayPal through The DMB Fund Facebook page. Arrangements by Mays Funeral Home, Calais & Eastport. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.maysfuneralhome.com
Published on  January 23, 2017