Dr. Elizabeth Anne Bridges Sass

Dr. Elizabeth Anne Bridges Sass

Toronto, Canada

November 13, 1929 - March 31, 2014

Elizabeth was born in Des Moines, Iowa on November 13, 1929 - oldest child of Wilbur and Lillian Bridges. Known as Betty Bridges as a child she was often called "Banged Up Betty" for the bruises she collected on her arms and legs while roller-skating outdoors.

Elizabeth always had an adventurous, independent and pioneering spirit - an intrinsic part of her personality that never faded. She left Des Moines in 1948 to attend the University of Michigan where she studied Political Science. At the University, she excelled academically and was the president of her sorority - Kappa Alpha Theta; she was also selected for Mortar Board.

She graduated and went to Tufts University for her Master's Degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. This led her to then spend several years on the east coast - and in particular New York City - a place that she always loved for its pace, excitement and interesting, stimulating people.

Thinking she would like to work for the United Nations during a time when most of her peers were settling down into more traditional roles, she studied abroad in Paris at the Sorbonne and became fluent in French. Paris was another one of her favorite cities and she shared many stories of her friends there, her apartment in the city and time on the left bank.

Her international studies in France and her focus on Russian Affairs took her to Russia as part of the first group of students allowed entry. She studied the Russian language and was also intrigued by the culture and political system.

Returning to the United States, she enrolled in a PhD program in Political Science at Stanford University. She then transferred to University of California Berkeley to study under a professor she knew to be an expert in her area of interest and she completed her PhD in 1972.

While at Stanford University, she met Donald Sass, a medical student and they married in 1959 and had three children, divorcing in 1972.

Elizabeth taught Political Science for many years at St. Olaf College in Minnesota followed by the University of New Brunswick in St. John. Following her teaching career, she launched her own management consulting firm in Toronto in the 1980's. During her years in Toronto, she was active as a volunteer in municipal political campaigns and recruited her children to participate as well. She was a Lifelong member of the national women's leadership group P.E.O. She was also a strong advocate for those with mental health challenges.

Elizabeth is survived by three children - David Jostin Sass and his wife Hiroko, Christin Lee Sass Davidson and her husband Scott and Elizabeth Allison Sass all of Toronto. She has four grandchildren - Matthew, Lindsay, Daniel and Andrew - in whom she took great delight. She is also survived by her brother - Robert Bridges of Des Moines, Iowa, his wife Anne, their children Rob and Mary Rose and four grandchildren.

Always a free spirit and an independent thinker with a brilliant mind, sparkling blue eyes and a constant laugh, Elizabeth had a passion for politics, debate, travel, art, style and the beauty of nature. Ahead of her time in so many ways, she refused to be defined by conventional roles and lived her remarkable life every day on her own terms.

She died suddenly on March 31, 2014 at the age of 84 without pain or suffering and with her three children by her side.

Resting at the NEWEDIUK FUNERAL HOME, KIPLING CHAPEL, 2058 Kipling Avenue (North of Rexdale Blvd.), Toronto, Canada from 12 noon Saturday April 5, 2014 followed by a Funeral Service in the chapel at 1:00pm.

Interment York Cemetery.

As expressions of sympathy, donations to P.E.O. Toronto Chapter or the McMichael Gallery of Canadian Art, Kleinburg would be appreciated by the family.

Online condolences at newediukfuneralhome.com

Funeral Home

Newediuk Funeral Home - Kipling Chapel
2058 Kipling Ave Etobicoke, ON M9W4J9
(416) 745-7555

Published in Des Moines Register on Apr. 3, 2014