Minnie Nelvin Cooksey Bridges was the seventh of eight children born to the late Reverend Allen Pardee and Minnie Barr Cooksey of Longview, Texas and widow of the late Jacob Daniel Bridges.
Minnie attended public school in the Greggton community and was a graduate of Longview Colored High School (renamed Womack High School). She completed undergraduate studies at Butler College, Tyler, Texas and earned a bachelor’s degree from Bishop College, Marshall, Texas. She continued her education by completing graduate studies at Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia (now Clark-Atlanta University) and Prairie View A&M University Prairie View, Texas. Her first teaching assignments were in rural schools. She later returned to Longview and was employed by the Longview Independent School System and retired after 36 years of service. As a young mother, Minnie accepted the position of librarian for the Nicholson Community Center on Harrison Street, an ideal opportunity for employment and nearness to her young children who she enrolled in kindergarten at the Presbyterian Church next door.
A member of the Willow Springs Baptist Church since childhood, Minnie held this personal conviction: “I am God’s creation, formed in His likeness. I accepted Him as my Savior and believe that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I am His child, so I am a Christian.” She was influenced greatly by her father’s preaching ministry and her parents’ committed lifestyle to the cause of Christ. She was an active and faithful member who was blessed to serve in several capacities over the years. As an ardent Bible student, she offered her gift of teaching as Sunday School and Mission Teacher. She also served as Benevolence Chairman, President, Pastor’s Aide, Program Chairman, and Corresponding Secretary. After moving to Cypress, Texas, Minnie united with The Church Without Walls, as a watch care member and attended regularly until her health declined. She was fond of Pastor Ralph D. West, Sr. and continued watching worship services via live stream on Sunday.
Minnie was a “no nonsense” teacher who taught her students with deep conviction and passion. Her classroom rules were visible on the blackboard the first day of class and students were required to copy them to be kept in their notebooks. She was serious about appropriate classroom discipline, believing it was an essential component of a successful learning environment. Over the years, many students have returned to express appreciation for her influence in their lives. She humbly commented often, “I have touched and nurtured the thought process of many boys and girls, preparing and molding them culturally, intellectually and spiritually. Many have become educators, lawyers, inventors, preachers and doctors.”
Minnie’s memory will be cherished by her daughter, Sheila (John) and son, Darryl (Michelle), four grandchildren: Sean Williams (Shannon), Lauren Bridges, Saaron Winston (Rowan), and Daniel Bridges; five great-grandchildren; Rashad Winston, Sloane Williams, Shane Williams, Ryan Winston, and Raheem Winston. Nieces: Mary Wilson, Thelma Brown, Thelma Hackworth, Barbara Cooksey, Auzetta Martin, Michelle Dade, Gail Shannon, Veronica Slade, (Phillip), Sarita Bridges, Carolyn Lockett (John). Nephews: Wilfred Cooksey (Joanne), Michael Cooksey (Beverly), Eric Cooksey, Volney Bridges (Irene), Rodney Bridges (Gemma), and Scotty Bridges (Zandriena) Cousins: Bernard Richardson, Dornell Reese, a special “adopted” son, Al McKinney, and numerous other relatives and friends.
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