Sidney R. Bridges, 81, a dentist who served patients at his West Philadelphia office for 50 years, died Saturday, Dec. 1, of Alzheimer's disease at Rosemont Presbyterian Village, an assisted-living facility.

Dr. Bridges was an emeritus member of the Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners, which administers clinical examinations in dentistry and dental hygiene.

He was a member of the Pennsylvania Board of Dental Examiners since 1975, and was on the board of governors of the Philadelphia County Dental Society. He was president of the society from 1989 to 1990.

Teresa F. Ravert, executive director of the society, said Dr. Bridges "was a very serious and quiet man, very much into the ethics of the profession."

She said Dr. Bridges was nationally known because of his work with dental organizations.

He was born Jan. 31, 1931, in Philadelphia, the son of Sidney and Molly Bridges. He was on the track team at Northeast High School, where he graduated with honors and an academic scholarship to Temple University.

At Temple, he was admitted to a selective program that allowed students to matriculate through two years of undergraduate work in science and advance to graduate medical programs in the third year.

He graduated from Temple's School of Dentistry in 1954. Dr. Bridges later joined the Air Force, serving in Chaumont, France, and earning the rank of captain.

He married Joyce Winfrey Bridges in 1960. The couple had a son and a daughter and were longtime residents of West Philadelphia.

In 1956, Dr. Bridges opened his dental practice at 40th Street and Girard Avenue. He maintained that office for 50 years.

A lifelong friend, Olga Jenkins, said Dr. Bridges was a serious student even in elementary school.

She said Dr. Bridges "worked very hard to get more African Americans through" the dental board exams.

Dr. Bridges was active in the community, serving on the boards of Big Brothers Association, the Parkside YMCA, and the Wynnefield Residents Association.

His son, Sidney E., said Dr. Bridges enjoyed photography, taking many nature photos and Philadelphia cityscapes, and making color prints.

Dr. Bridges played tennis at the Riverside Racquet and Fitness Club in Bala Cynwyd and other venues.

He was a dedicated Philadelphia sports fan and enjoyed gardening and traveling. Dr. Bridges spoke French and German and visited Europe, the Caribbean, Brazil, and Alaska.

"He had a very good sense of humor. He had a wry wit," his son said. "He was self-effacing as someone who never sought the spotlight."

In addition to his wife and son, Dr. Bridges is survived by a daughter, Sheila A.

No services are planned.

Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.