WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — When Bridgid Rose Flynn Ross was a teenager, she took horseback riding lessons with her sister Deirdre at Clover Hill Farm in Williamstown.
"Deirdre has great form," the riding instructor said, "but Bridgid is one with the horse." The observation captured Bridgid's uncanny gift. She was someone who connected so deeply with animals and nature that, as a child, she would bottle-feed orphaned mice in her dresser drawer. Throughout her life, she took in animals in need of rescuing, much like the Irish saint for whom she was named.
She invested the same care in her family, nurturing her three beloved sons and grandchildren.
Bridgid died Jan. 23 in Nampa, Idaho, after a four-year battle with cancer. She died in her own bed in the arms of her husband of 40 years. She died in a house that in the summertime was surrounded by green fields and roses. She was 60.
Bridgid was born on Dec. 3, 1960, in Gary, Ind. to Kathleen (Madigan) Flynn and the late Terrence Flynn. She was the second of six children — three girls and three boys. In 1970, the family moved to Williamstown, and Bridgid attended Mount Greylock Regional High School, where she played field hockey.
The West called to her, and, though it meant leaving her family, she found her way to California where she met Mike Ross. They married on Jan. 9, 1981, with a justice of the peace and a Native American shaman.
Over the next four decades, they lived in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Dakota and, finally, Idaho. In each place, Bridgid escaped whenever she
could into the natural beauty of her surroundings. She loved hiking whether in the Indiana sand dunes of her childhood, the Berkshire foothills or the Rocky Mountains.
She also pursued the life of the mind, consuming books and articles on history and politics, medicine, science and nature. She loved facts. She also loved poetry, theater and folk music. There was no topic on which Bridgid could not speak intelligently. Her research skills were so exceptional and her grasp of complex ideas so evident that people often assumed she had advanced degrees.
Bridgid had a keen sense of social justice and fairness, was a champion of the underdog and a loyal friend to all.
She was also hilariously funny. No one could spend an hour with Bridgid without devolving into hysterical laughter. She relished the absurd and could be delightfully mischievous. Once, fed up with a prank caller bothering her younger sister, she grabbed the phone and delivered an Eleanor Roosevelt impression that left everyone in stitches. She loved having a good time and could roll with any situation.
Motherhood fulfilled her. She loved singing and reading to her three boys and her grandchildren. And she fiercely protected them.
In addition to her husband, survivors include her sons Christopher Ross and William Ross of Nampa, Idaho, and Justin Ross of Sacramento, Calif.; mother Kathleen Flynn of Adams; sisters Deirdre Flynn Sullivan (the late Arthur), of Williamstown, and Eileen Flynn DeLaO (Abraham) of Austin, Texas; brothers Christopher Flynn (Darcy) of Hardwick, Kilian Flynn (Traci) of North Adams., and Nicholas Flynn (Nancy) of Worcester; her grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family is planning a memorial when it is safe to gather.