Former Harris County Manager Daniel Bryan Bridges died Sunday at the age of 61.
Bridges served three terms as a Harris County commissioner before giving up his District 5 seat to take the job as county manager in 2008.
Cancer forced Bridges to step down as county manager last November, according to Assistant County Manager Nancy McMichael, who has been filling in until the county commission can hire a replacement.
McMichael has been with the county for 20 years and knew Bridges for all of that time.
"He was a very good leader," McMichael said. "He was a great commissioner, a great county manager. He served the people of Harris County very well."
Bridges was born and raised in Harris County, went to Harris County High School and then to Columbus State University, which was then Columbus College. He worked for Cagle's Inc. for about 30 years before retiring from that job. He served almost 12 years on the county commission before stepping down to become county manager.
As chairman of the board of trustees of Callaway Gardens, Edward Callaway had many opportunities to work with Bridges in both of his official capacities with the county.
"As chairman of the county commissioners and then as manager of Harris County, Danny provided superior leadership in a quiet and effective manner," Callaway said. "He was definitely one of a kind, and has left an impressive legacy in the work he touched."
Harry Franklin, who covered this part of the state for the Ledger-Enquirer for 37 years, worked with Bridges as a commissioner and then briefly as county manager before he retired in 2008.
"Danny was a great leader who always had the county's best interest at heart," Franklin said. "I never caught his doing anything that I questioned as far as ethical violations or anything of that nature. He was a solid, down-to-earth indi
Aflac General Counsel and Executive Vice President Joey Loudermilk first knew Bridges as his county commissioner in Ellerslie, where both men lived. When Bridges stepped down from his seat to become county manager, Loudermilk stepped forward to run for his old seat.
"He was a wonderful man. Very smart. He knew how to handle not only finances and administration of the county, but also was very good at handling people," Loudermilk said. "He was someone you could always county on to get the job done, and to do it well. It's quite a loss, for our county and for this part of the state."
Loudermilk and his fellow commissioners are now faced with the task of replacing Bridges. He said they have narrowed the field down to two candidates and expect to make a decision at their next meeting.
That meeting was scheduled for tonight, but it would conflict with visitation with Bridges' family, so it was moved to May 14.
"Obviously, we want to be there for the family," Loudermilk said.
Visitation is scheduled for 6-8 tonight at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Ellerslie, according to Cox Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements.
The funeral service, also at Cornerstone Baptist, is scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Bridges is survived by his wife of 35 years, Shelene Bridges; two sons, Jason Bridges and Daniel Bridges; a sister and three brothers.