Bridget Hauser, 90, died in San Diego, California, on May 27, 2009. She was a high-spirited, fun loving, creative, adventurous woman, with many good friends and family around the world.
Bridget was born on her family’s farm in County Armagh, Ireland in 1919 to Patrick Harvey and Catherine Woods. She grew up as "Agnes" with her six siblings and attended Shelagh School where she excelled in Gaelic. At 17 she moved to London, where she worked as a seamstress and assistant cook. She also studied pattern-making and dress design.
When war broke out in 1939, she enrolled in an engineering drawing and printmaking course at London Polytechnic. As part of the war effort, she found work in Letchworth Garden City, working for Foster Instrument Company making instruments for the Royal Air Force.
Bridget immigrated to the United States in 1946. She lived in New York City for a year-and-a-half and studied at Hunter College. In 1948 she moved to Salem, Oregon, worked at the Benton County Bank and met Carl Santesson whom she married. They both attended Oregon State University in Corvallis.
In 1957 Bridget moved with her daughters from Longview, Washington, to Palo Alto, California, where she enjoyed a long career as a travel agent for the California State Automobile Association. She opened their foreign travel department. Bridget visited countries around the world, and was part of the first touring groups allowed into Russia and China.
Later, Bridget earned her teaching credential from the University of California. She had twenty-three wonderful years, 1973-1996, teaching Foreign Travel Careers in the Business Department at Foothill College in Los Altos.
Bridget retired to Parc Regent in Los Altos where she had many good friends. Due to illness she moved to Poway, California, in 2007 to be closer to family.
Bridget had a life-long love of learning. She enjoyed not only travel but walking and bird watching. She had a flair for fashion and was a talented seamstress, writer and painter. She is the author of the book The Reluctant Immigrant, a memoir of her life.
Bridget is lovingly remembered by daughters Shoneen (Richard) Bergholdt, and Paula (Bruce) Kaye; grandchildren Brooke (Mac), Tyler, Forrest, Karen and Alan; great-grandson Moses; sisters Rose, Kathleen, Margaret, May, and Anne; and many nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother John.
A memorial service was held at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church in Poway, California on June 9, 2009. A gathering of friends was held on June 22, 2009 at Parc Regent. At her request, Bridget's ashes will be taken back to her home in County Armagh, Ireland where a funeral mass will be held in her honor.