Susan Kay Bridges

November 23, 1956 - July 19, 2021


Kay Kelfer Bridges was born on November 23rd, 1956 in San Antonio, Texas. She accepted the Lord as Saviour when she was five, and was baptized at Trinity Baptist church by her pastor Buckner Fanning. In the fifth grade, her father wanted her brother, Steve, and Kay to learn God’s Word so he sacrificed to send them to Grace Bible College Preparatory School where they learned and memorized Scripture, and were taught Bible and , believe it or not, Biblical Greek, every day. In 10th grade, when the school failed financially, Kay’s father Russell and a few friends founded the first citywide non-denominational Christian school in San Antonio, San Antonio Christian School. Kay graduated from there in 1975 as the Valedictorian of…a class of 5! Throughout those years, she was taught to love the Lord and His Word. The school of 100 K-12 now has over a thousand!

Kay attended San Antonio Junior College where she met her husband Mark. He was on the basketball team and she was a cheerleader. They were best friends, and eventually married 24 years later.

After 2 years at San Antonio College, Kay attended Trinity University in San Antonio for three years, graduating cum laude in 1980 with a double degree in piano and in elementary education. Her dad teased her that she took an extra senior year just so she could be a cheerleader another year…actually not too far from the truth! That last year completed 9 straight years of cheerleading at 2 high schools and 2 colleges. (Yes, her poor mother Martha had to sew almost all of those uniforms! She was a trooper!)

Besides being obsessed with cheerleading, Kay was involved in choir, sports, student government, Mortar Board, Blue Key, Who’s Who, and other groups in high school and on the college campuses. She played women’s basketball for 6 years at the vertically challenged height of 5’3”. One year she was given a pair of stilts with high tops as a gag gift…she was a little on the aggressive side and fouled out quite a bit, but they did retire her jersey when she graduated, so they must have forgiven her. Her two basketball coaches were two people that profoundly influenced her life.

In 1978, without telling her parents, Kay tried out for the Miss America Scholarship Pageant, and became Miss San Antonio. The lights went out when she was playing the piano during the talent competition portion, plus she had burned her eyes with a tanning light (duh! eyes were bright red!) so she couldn’t wear her contacts and just prayed she wouldn’t fall off the runway! She later won a non-finalist Talent Award at the Miss Texas Pageant playing Khatchatuian’s Toccata. That time was a bit less eventful! and the lights stayed on! On a serious note, God used the pageant to allow her to speak to many groups throughout San Antonio, giving her wonderful opportunities to share her testimony, so it was all in God’s plan.

At Trinity, Kay met 5 of her best friends, Debbie Napier, Jill Griffes, Carolyn Birky, Janelle Williams and Anne Haller, all still amazing friends to this day. Jill and Debbie have visited, encouraged, prayed her through, and been ever-present human ‘angels’ through these past 5 years of her cancer journey. Kay considers all of them some of God’s greatest blessings!

While in college, Kay began teaching children piano, and continued off and on throughout her life until chemo made it too hard in recent years. She was a church pianist (back in the day when they HAD pianos and organs!) and was an accompanist, playing for everything from VBS to weddings, funerals to UIL, and graduations to choirs. She played for her own kindergarten graduation and her own high school graduation, as well as her father’s funeral, so she thought it fitting to play for her own funeral in absentia.

Kay married in 1984, and had four beautiful children, Lauren, Miles, Emily, and James Russell Cottingham. They are her pride and joy, as you all know surely know from Facebook! No, she doesn’t apologize!

Kay started on her Master’s of Humanities at the University of Dallas but was thrilled to put that aside for motherhood when Lauren arrived. She had been about to try adoption when God finally answered prayer, and she got pregnant at 32. After 4 tough pregnancies and one miscarriage, Kay welcomed Lauren, Miles, Emily, and then James Russell just before turning 41. That worked out well, as that meant her friends were always a decade younger and that helped keep her ‘young’! (It did NOT help, however, in the grandkid department!)

After her years at Trinity, Kay taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades in Alamo Heights (San Antonio), Richardson, Dallas and Beaumont. Her greatest passion throughout her life, (besides of course her own 4 children!) was teaching these little ones. She loved first grade most because she loved teaching them to read. She had been incredibly shy (I know! Hard to believe!) as a first grader, so she knew God gave her a special heart for little first graders, especially those who were timid.

Throughout the years, Kay coached and sponsored several cheerleading teams (just couldn’t leave it alone!), enjoyed working as camp counselor, teaching Bible studies to high schoolers, working for Youth for Christ, and teaching in children’s church or Sunday School. She went on several life changing mission trips, from Buffalo, New York during the Jesus Movement to Germany in the 80’s and TWO amazing trips in the 90’s to the former USSR just after it collapsed. All were working with kids.

Thanks to being a teacher, Kay was able to enjoy her greatest love - travel! She spent summers backpacking through Europe and would literally leave the day after school was out and return when it was about to start. She ended up going 7 times, and there was nothing she loved more…

After marrying Mark in 2000, they took it up a notch, and they spent lots of travel time via motorcycle, going all over the country, from the Atlantic to Yellowstone. All the time she was shooting pictures, as photography was her second passion. From the age of 13 to 64, she scrapbooked over 300 albums. The number of photos are probably up to the number of ‘hairs on your head’ or ‘sands of the sea’!

Kay’s favorite thing to shoot was children’s portraits. She ‘shot’ a portrait of every child she ever taught, and just a few MILLION photos of her favorite children, her own! She also loved shooting nature photos. Thanks to God’s handiwork and Mark’s HARD work around their 31 acres, it was easy for her to enjoy shooting everything from dragonflies to alligators even during her years on chemo when she was mostly homebound.

One of Kay’s greatest joys was putting her love of teaching into homeschooling her own children. (Not maybe THEIR greatest joy, but Kay loved it!) She also homeschooled other people’s children, starting Olympic Dreams Academy for high level gymnasts needing homeschooling, then starting her own school, Homeschool on the Lake, at her house. Those kids became like extended family.

Kay finished her teaching life at Veritas Classical Academy in Beaumont where she taught first grade for three years and was interim principal for a short while. One of her biggest thrills was getting to return to accompany the first graduating class of the school in 2020. Kay’s greatest earthly loves were her husband, Mark, (her best friend, soul mate, all around awesome hubby, and caregiver) and her four amazing children. Lauren, Miles, Emily, and James. They are the apples of her eye, and raising them was her greatest honor.

Kay survived 13 moves, a very tough divorce, 4 horrific lawsuits, 4 difficult pregnancies, one miscarriage, one mass shooting in which her two friends were shot, 3 devastating hurricanes, a motorcycle accident, and fought cancer for 5 years, but she wanted you to know that God was faithful EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. She chose Great is Thy Faithfulness as the Prelude, and How Great Thou Art for us to sing today because God proved Himself faithful to her through it all and He is indeed GREAT! Her God was faithful to the end, giving her His ‘peace that surpasses all understanding’ throughout life, and throughout her battle with cancer. He gave her every ‘desire of her heart’ and showed her miracle after miracle. That peace extended to her Home-going, and all she hoped and wanted was that if you don’t already know her God, you will find out how to know Him today.

Memorial contributions for Mrs. Bridges may be made to “Servants of the King” ,Ministry 2539 Ashton Village Dr, San Antonio,Tx.78248 or

A gathering of Mrs. Bridge’s family and friends will be from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., Friday, July 23, 2021, at Encounter Church, 5300 Twin City Highway, Groves. Her memorial service will be 1:00 p.m., Saturday, July 24, 2021, at Encounter Church, Groves, her cremation arrangements were handled through Broussard’s Crematorium, under the direction of Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont.

Broussard's Mortuary - McFaddin Avenue
2000 Mcfaddin Avenue Beaumont, TX 77701
Gathering of Family and Friends
Encounter Church
5300 Twin City Highway Groves Texas 77619
Friday, July 23, 2021
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Memorial Service
Encounter Church
5300 Twin City Highway Groves Texas 77619
Saturday, July 24, 2021
1:00 p.m.

Comments (5)

  • Melody rider

    27 July 2021 at 01:59 | #

    She was so very beautiful! I couldn’t help but tell her every time I saw her the last few times. She absolutely glowed! It was Jesus no doubt! ! Much ❤️ To her precious family ,amazing friends and cherished husband. We were all blessed to know her but you all more so to have had her as yours! ❤️


  • Rachel Snider

    25 July 2021 at 23:38 | #

    To the families: I have know Mark my entire 41 years as he and my Father were best friends and met his wonderful wife Kay. Through church boy could you handle that piano ! Always with a smile . Bro Mark took such great of her as he struggled . Even volunteered to get me to Houston to help with my kidney stones . They were great positive people . Even struggling she would still pray for everyone . I’m so glad she had a wonderful man to take care of her before she left us here for an even better man in the sky ! ♥️


  • Sherry Williams

    25 July 2021 at 05:31 | #

    I had the great priviledge of knowing Kay while attending Grace Bible School and San Antonio Christian. She had a beautiful, vibrant and sweet spirit. My prayers go up for her husband Mark, her children and mom and brother.


  • Katie Kelfer-Taylor

    23 July 2021 at 16:22 | #

    Kay was one of my two first cousins. She and Steve and my siblings and I are all the family we have. But to me she was much more than a cousin. As a young child nine years younger than her she was my ideal. Everrything she did was cool. As adults we became close due to the overlap in our kids' ages. I cherish every moment I was lucky enough to spend with her, Mark and the kids. I will miss her amile, her laugh and reminiscing about childhood together with her. I will miss her sense of humor and her kindness to my kids. I will miss my childhood idoland adult friend always , until we meet again.


  • Phyllis Settle Hurlburt

    22 July 2021 at 05:39 | #

    I'm wishing I could have had more time and opportunities to get to know you better but what little time I had was so precious as we shared our love of the Lord and how incredibly he answers our prayers. I'm so grateful for the love and joy you brought to my friend Mark. Rest high on that mountain girl and we will meet again later.


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