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Earl Thomas Bridgeman

Earl Thomas Bridgeman, 77, of Pikeville, entered his final reward Saturday, November 1, 2014, at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga.

A lifelong love of music led to a recording career in his later years under the name “Papa T.” He enjoyed focusing on the blues genre as a vocalist and guitarist. His son, noted bluesman Earl Thomas, often credits his father as a major influence in his own musical career.

Born November 12, 1937, in Pikeville, to the late Coy and Vera Bridgeman, Mr. Bridgeman attended Lincoln School in Pikeville and Carver High in Dayton.

After spending 21 years in the U.S. Navy living in sites as diverse as San Diego, Seattle, Bremerton, Washington, and Guam, he retired and moved his family back to his hometown. He went on to serve as a correctional officer at the state prison.

Preceding him in death were his wife of 44 years, Jewell “Baby Sister” Ermalee Vernon Bridgeman; parents; and three brothers, Nathaniel, Carl and Johnnie Bridgeman.

Surviving are three sons, Earl “Goody” Bridgeman of San Diego, California, James Randall and Timothy Dale Bridgeman, both of Pikeville; one sister, Beulah Beige of La Porte, Indiana; two grandchildren, Allen Hickey and Timothy Coy Bridgeman; two great-grandchildren, Darius and Tyson Hickey; sister-in-law, Mildred Bridgeman; nieces, Janet Bridgeman Black, Jacqueline Bridgeman, and Venica Vernon Hines; and a host of other family members and friends around the world.

A Celebration of Earl’s life will be held graveside on Wednesday, November 5, at 1:00 p.m. at the Pikeville Cemetery. The family will receive friends beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in the funeral home chapel. Burial will be in the Pikeville City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family is asking for donations to our GoFundMe page

Please share your thoughts and condolences online at www.pikevillefuneralhome.

Arrangements were entrusted to Pikeville Funeral Home in Pikeville.

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