John Edward "Jack" Bride was born on May 16th, 1947 in Lake Charles, Louisiana to Helen and Francis Xavier Bride. He was the fourth of their eight children. He died on April 11th, 2020 at Our Lady of the Lake after sustaining a traumatic injury. Jack, or Papa Jack as he was more often known, leaves behind a roster of heartbroken friends and family members, and stories that could fill these pages. He graduated from Landry Memorial High School in Lake Charles in 1966 and completed pre-law coursework at McNeese University before transferring to Louisiana State University. He graduated with a Juris Doctorate from LSU in May of 1972 and was admitted to the bar in September of the same year. He worked with Legal Aid in Baton Rouge before setting up a private law practice in St. Gabriel, Louisiana where he lived with his then wife, Gloria Powers, now deceased, his two step daughters, Ashley Thom Lecky and Tiffany Thom Mitchell and his daughter, Jessica Erin Bride. The family saved and lived in an early Acadian cypress home built in the late 1700s - a house that Jack continued to call home until his death. After a few years of private practice and a divorce from Gloria, Jack went on to serve as assistant Public Defender for Iberville Parish for many years. He then returned to private practice although toward the end of his life he worked largely in contract work through the Department of Corrections and the Public Defender's office. He deeply believed that every person is entitled to a defense because the presumption of innocence is the backbone of liberty, no matter how large or small, how heinous or how minuscule the accusation is. He practiced defense law until his death. Jack's hobby was furniture building, and over the years he became a self-taught master of of the art. He found solace in woodworking and filled the family home with evidence of his passion which grew more sophisticated and refined by the piece. His final piece was a replica of a 150-year-old Louisiana armoire completed just weeks before his death. Jack was an intrepid traveler through his life. He worked his way through college working on oil rigs off the Alaskan coast, working as a deckhand on a tugboat plying the intracoastal canal, picking cherries in Washington and when push came to shove drove a motorcycle to and through Central and South America, although this would turn out to be a bad idea for many reasons. In his mid 30s he travelled the world with a friend who was travel writer for the Baton Rouge Advocate and their adventures where chronicled in numerous articles in this paper. He tried his hand briefly at restaurauteuring but by his late 40s he met and married Deborah Denise "Debbie" Blanchard and focused again on law. He was married to Debbie until her premature death in 2012. All the while he continued to practice defense law and continued to dote upon his true love - the home that he shared with his first and second wife, his daughter, his son-in-law and grandchildren, and friends. A home that hosted masquerade parties, weddings, funerals and a generation of friends and family. He is predeceased by his first and second wives, Gloria Powers and Deborah Bride (née Blanchard), his mother Helen, his father, Francis and his brothers Dr. Francis Bride and Thomas Bride, his sister-in-law Cynthia Bride and his sister Mary Anne Little. He is survived by his grandchildren, Teddy, Grace and Powers Bride Mayor, his daughter Jessica Bride and son-in-law Nicholas Mayor, his sister Patricia Byrd and brother-in-law Dr. Gerald Byrd, his sister Dr. Judith Bride and his brother Michael Bride all of Lake Charles, his brother James Bride of Austin, his brother-in-law Steve Little of Baton Rouge, as well as his nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly. He is also survived by his step-daughters, Ashley Thom Lecky and Tiffany Thom Mitchell and their children. A memorial service will be held at 3pm on June 20th, 2020 at the family home. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in his name to The LSU Rural Life museum.
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Published in The Advocate from May 23 to May 24, 2020.