Bridie (Bridget Mary) McDonough passed away at the age of 27 on November 4 in Durham, NC. She died younger than any would have liked, but packed her time on this earth with more achievements, adventures, contributions, and fun than many twice her age. Born in Sanford, NC, Bridie spent her formative years in Rocky Mount, NC until her family moved to Raleigh when she was 12. She graduated third in her class from Leesville Road High School where she played on the girls’ volleyball team and participated in a variety of school clubs.
Bridie received a full scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in English and Sociology. As a freshman, she was selected to attend an all-expense paid 6-week course in Thailand, Singapore, and Brunei. As a junior, she spent a semester at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. During college summers, she interned at Durham non-profit agencies.
Immediately after graduation, Bridie spent two years in the Peace Corps, teaching middle school English in Tshibvumo, a small rural South African town near the Zimbabwe border. She found a variety of causes to champion, most noteworthy perhaps was her overseeing of the construction, stocking, grand opening, and daily operations of her school’s first stand-alone library.
Upon her return, she spent a year in AmeriCorps, working with homeless families in Durham. She was accepted into the Leadership Program at Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Social Science, again securing a full scholarship. Halfway through her graduate program she learned of her advanced cancer diagnosis but opted to continue with as minimal a disruption to her schedule as could be managed. Bridie graduated with a 4.0 in August 2020 and had planned on starting her social work career by helping refugees.
Survived by her mother Maggie McDonough, sister Eileen McDonough, and brother Thomas McDonough, Bridie will most be remembered by them as being equal parts extremely funny and highly principled. She had the knack of thinking of creative, personalized gifts and making them happen. Bridie loved to travel, leading her to experience 22 countries on 4 continents. She encouraged her family to try new and different things and their lives are the better for it. Bridie is already sorely missed by those who knew and loved her…
There will be a celebration of her life at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, Bridie suggested that donations might be made to Carolina Covenant, an aid program that helps students to attend and graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill debt-free.
Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
111 Pettigrew Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
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