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Attendees at the 131st annual Bishop Family Reunion in August 2009 pose for a photo in Bear Creek Regional Park. Fred Bishop is seated, middle-left, holding a hat in front of his chest.
Tammy Wendt photo; courtesy of Tina Bishop

In Memoriam: Fred Bishop, long-time Westside resident from pioneer family

ABOVE: In 2007, Fred Bishop (left), then 86, and neighbor Steve Webb led a successful fight with Colorado Springs Traffic Engineering to remove a barricade that city staffers had erected (without notifying residents), preventing access through this uniquely narrow, half-century-old access from 18th Street to the 1700 block of St. Vrain Street where Bishop lived. BELOW: Bishop and his wife Yvonne, who died in 2000. BOTTOM: Bishop in 1942, before serving in World War II.
Westside Pioneer file photo (above); courtesy of Fred Bishop (below and bottom)
       Oliver Fredrick "Fred" Bishop Jr., a long-time Westsider whose grandfather and several other family members moved here from Illinois in an 1870s wagon train, passed away June 18 at age 93.
       A public visitation will be Tuesday, June 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Swan-Law Funeral Directors, 501 North Cascade Ave.
       A graveside military honor service will be Wednesday June 25 at 10 a.m. at Evergreen Cemetery, followed by a Memorial Service at 11:30 a.m. at the Tri- Lakes Church of Christ, 20450 Beacon Lite Road in Monument.
       A World War II veteran with broad work experience - especially in farming and manufacturing - Mr. Bishop was married nearly 59 years to Yvonne Helen (Schneider), who died in 2000. They had five children, all of whom survive: two daughters, Fredda and Shawnee; and three sons Fred III, Rick and Sam. Mr. Bishop is also survived by a brother, Tillman "Tillie"; 8 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and 1 great-great grandson.
        Mr. Bishop was born Aug. 22, 1920, near Calhan, the sixth of 12 children for Oliver Fredrick “Fred” Bishop Sr. and Lilley May (French) Bishop.
       The father himself had been born in 1878 in the area of what's now the Air Force Academy, along with his twin

brother Ed. In a 2008 “In Their Own Words” interview with the Westside Pioneer, the son explained that the celebration of the twins' births led to a family gathering that has turned into an annual event. Now approaching its 136th year, the Bishop family reunion occurs annually, on the first Sunday in August. The location had been Thorndale Park for many years, moving to Bear Creek Regional Park in 2009.
       Mr. Bishop's early years were spent on a farm near Calhan, but in 1931 the family moved to Colorado Springs, “We lived at different places, some of them on the Westside, including the 2900 block of West Pikes Peak and four years at 218 S. Eighth St.,” Mr. Bishop recalled in the 2008 Pioneer interview. “Schools I went to included Whittier, Washington and West.”
       The interview also included a description of what it was like for his family here in the 1930s: “Times were a lot harder for a big family living in town; fortunately, we did bring a cow in to have milk. And we also had two goats for milk as brother Vergal could not keep cow's milk down. He was what they called a blue baby - only lived to age 4. (Another brother, Walter, who was born in 1912, only lived half a year.) We had some chickens in town and Dad always had a large garden to help feed us. We would make our own hominy from hard corn. We dried apples to have in the

wintertime. We all worked together and my mother canned beets, carrots, peas and all kinds of jellies and jams and mincemeat. My mother also made a lot of our clothes and quilts and saved the feathers off the turkeys and chickens for pillows. The Depression was on, and we kids sold papers and did anything we could to help the family progress.”
       In 1947, two years after World War II ended, Mr. Bishop went to work for the TimKen Company's Rock Bit division. He eventually became a foreman and worked there until his retirement in 1982.
       He and his wife bought the house at 1710 W. St. Vrain St. when it was new in 1954. Mr. Bishop lived there the rest of his life.
       According to his obituary, his death followed a brief illness.

       Editor's note: The full "In Their Own Words" interview with Fred Bishop from April 3, 2008, can be found at this link.

Westside Pioneer/obituary
(Posted 6/22/14; Community: In Memoriam)

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