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Celebrating the Past, Present & Future

Stained glass artist has retirement plans
By Victoria Shiflet Kress

   The Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula are full of extremely talented creative artists. One such artist is Raymond B. Bridgers, Jr. of “Quiet Cove Stained Glass” in Mollusk, Va. who will be retiring from the stained glass profession this summer. The “Quiet Cove Stained Glass” studio will continue after his retirement in Robley under the direction of his former student and friend Nancy B. Max
.
    Ray began the art of stained glass about 1972 while he was a Professor at New York University at Oswego. He was building his home and making kitchen cabinets that needed glass. He liked the stained glass look and felt it would be better than pressed glass for his cabinet doors. A female student traded lessons in stained glass in exchange for teaching her how to lay tile. From there his passion for stained glass began. Ray opened a stain glass business and has since won numerous awards for his master pieces, including second place prize at the New York State Fair. He then began sharing his passion with others. Many of his students have gone on to open their own stained glass businesses. His works are displayed on Oakland Island in North Carolina, homes all over the eastern half of the nation, and locally. He has created Dedication Plaques for Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Whitestone, nine windows for the Bethel United Methodist Church in Callao, and has made two windows for the Good Sheppard Lutheran Church also of Callao. Ray has made repairs for churches in our area such as the Northern Neck Baptist Church in Callao and the First Baptist Church in Heathsville.

    I have experienced his teachings firsthand and can state with pride that Ray is a natural born teacher. He loves to teach and generously shares his talents with every class. Since 1972 he has taken off one year from teaching. He enjoys challenging people to grow and to develop new talents and skills. He also feels people are more talented, and more artistic than they realize. Ray’s creativity and talent shows in his unique design styles. The masterpieces in his studio and home are exquisite!

    Ray and his wife of 58 years, Carolyn, have six children. None so far have developed his passion for stained glass, but have found their artistic outlet through music. Of the six children, there is a pianist, a cellist, a flutist, and an organist. Perhaps Ray is now taking after his children for he is learning to play the piano. His wife, Carolyn, is artistic as well, and writes and paints. Ray has also acted in and directed Little Theater, and took adult tap classes to help him recover from an illness.

    He currently plays hand bells with the Bethel United Methodist Church, where he keeps the hand bells adjusted and in tune. He also has expertise in woodworking, welding—making frames for stained glass and sculptures—boat building, and has won many senior category races as a runner.

    He raced Thistle sailboats for more than twenty five years, and taught sailing classes for ten years at the Fairhaven Yacht Club near Oswego, New York. Ray took flying lessons, was preparing for his solo cross country flight, bought a Cherokee 180 plane, and on the day it was delivered suffered a stroke which ended his flying experience. Remember the tap lessons?

    He has taught driver’s education classes for AARP. As a kid he delivered newspapers by bicycle and had to peddle more than twenty five miles each day. Looking back, Ray recollects that all of his interests and jobs have been fun with exception of delivering newspapers.

Ray grew up in Norfolk and graduated from William and Mary with an AB (Artium Baccalaureus) in Philosophy and an MED (Masters of Education) in Elementary Education. He then graduated from Duke University with a DED (Doctorate of Education) in Curriculum and Instructor. As a New York University Professor, he taught eight years in the Campus School and twenty seven years at the College. In 1994 as a Professor of Education, Ray began teaching a couple of courses per year in Upper Division Writing and Foundations of Education. He has also taught at San Fernando State College in California and summer courses at Syracuse and Utica, New York. He has served as a consultant to the Department of Transportation and New York City.

    Upon retirement, Ray sees himself pursuing his woodworking, painting, and spending time with his family. He still has a passion for stained glass, and probably always will. But some of the jobs and repairs of stained glass in high places, such as climbing extension ladders, have become dangerous and more difficult as he ages. He knows the business will be in good hands with Nancy B. Max. The hope is that he will be an Artistic Advisor and frequent the “Quiet Cove Stained Glass” studio in Robley, for he still has a lot of knowledge to offer and is adored and appreciated by all. Ray has been a teacher throughout his entire lifetime and the ripples from his teachings have touched the lives of many.

  

Photos by By Victoria Shiflet Kress


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