William Nichol (Nick) Eskridge was born in Pulaski, Virginia on October 6, 1923. He was the son of Allen T. Eskridge, a lawyer and later Mayor of Pulaski, and Nancy (Nannie) Nichol Eskridge. Nick graduated from Hamden Sydney College and served honorably in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he did his part for the Baby Boom, marrying Elizabeth (Tugar) DeJarnette and siring three children, Bill (born 1951), Henry (1954) and Betsy (1956). The Eskridges divorced in 1965 and Nick married Emily Rudisill in 1969. The Dupont Circle Club was a bridge club in northwest Washington, where skilled older men relieved younger players of their cash (games were played for serious money) in return for valuable lessons in the game. Nick was attracted to bridge because of its intellectual difficulty, elegance, and complicated strategy. He also admired the fact that there were clear right-or-wrong moves that could be made, and brutally analyzed after the fact, Nick had an aptitude for the game but parted with a big chunk of his government salary for several years as he learned from the old masters at the Dupont Circle Club. His talent was recognized by the Goren organization, which sponsored him on a Mediterranean cruise so that he could write a book on his bidding system in the early 1970s.
Although the book never panned out, Nick Eskridge continued to play bridge at a very high level after he settled in Roanoke, Virginia, his home for most of his adult life. In Roanoke, he was a star of the local bridge sessions. He traveled all around the southeastern United States to bridge tournaments. Nick derived more enjoyment from this fascinating game than he did from his work as an accountant and tax adviser or from any other hobby or pastime. Even after a series of disabling respiratory crises, he looked forward to his return to the bridge table. When he died on February 11, 2009, Nick had accumulated over 2500 master points.
William Nichol Eskridge’s survivors include his second wife, Emily Rudisill Eskridge, and her grandson, Harvey (Pete) Poff, two sisters, Mary Currin Eskridge Combiths and Ellen Eskridge Groseclose; his three children William Nichol Eskridge, Jr., Henry Magruder Eskridge, and Elizabeth DeJarnette Eskridge; two grandchildren, Ben and Mei van Eskridge, and his longtime friend and bridge partner, Maria Secamiglio.
Funeral services will be held Sunday at 2:00 p.m. on April 12, 2009 from the First Presbyterian Church, corner of 4th St. and Jefferson Avenue, N.W., Pulaski, Va. with the Rev. Jeff Kackley officiating. Burial will follow in Oakwood cemetery, Pulaski. Visiting will be Sunday from the church where the family will receive friends from 1:00 PM until the service hour.
Arrangements by Stevens Funeral Hoe, Inc., Pulaski, Va.