Heather Michele Cunningham Bridgens April 1, 1974 – April 8, 2022
“But know this; the ones that love us never really leave us.” – Sirius Black,
From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Heather Michele Cunningham Bridgens, 48, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, passed away on April 8, 2022. Heather was a bright ray of sunshine to all those around her. She was a beloved mother, wife, daughter, sister, educator, swim and water polo coach, and friend.
Heather was born in San Bernardino, Calif. on April 1, 1974 to David and Judy Cunningham. Sister Sarah joined the family shortly after. The family moved to Cottage Grove, Ore. in 1978. She graduated from Cottage Grove High School in 1992, where she was a member of the swimming and water polo teams. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. where she was a member of Alpha Phi sorority and also a part of the swim team. Heather went on to get her Masters in Education and school administrator’s license from the University of Oregon.
Heather and Garrett Bridgens started dating in 2005 after having grown up together in The First Presbyterian Church in Cottage Grove. They married on July 6, 2007. They have four lovely children, Aggie, Nikai, Kellan and Finley. Above all, Heather was an incredible mother who loved her children fiercely and was so incredibly proud of them all.
Heather was a champion for students and education. She taught English at Cottage Grove High School from 1999 to 2014 and went on to serve as principal of Bohemia Elementary School until 2021. While teaching at CGHS she also coached swimming and water polo where she won two state titles with her boys team and was a two-time state coach of the year. Heather was an avid reader and shared her love of reading and books with her many students.The impact Heather had on her students and athletes is immeasurable. She always led from a place of kindness and generosity. May her love of learning and compassion continue to spread through her students, their families and beyond.
Heather is survived by her parents, David and Judy Cunningham, grandmother Dorothy Cox, husband Garrett, children Aggie, Nikai, Kellan and Finley, sister Sarah Jones (Brian), aunts, uncles and seven beloved nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers we ask that you consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Heather Cunningham Bridgens endowment created in her honor. The goal of the endowment is simple: Raise enough money to make playing sports free for South Lane School District students every year. Heather understood the positive role that sports and extracurricular activities play in the lives of students. Your contribution will go toward supporting middle school, high school and youth programs in Cottage Grove for years to come.