James A. Bishop, Sr. was (in his words) an American by birth and a Southerner by the Grace of God. He was born in Twin City, Georgia, to John David and Florence R. (Kit) Bishop on September 6, 1926 and passed from this life in Rockledge, Florida, July 19, 2013.
He grew up in the depression/prohibition era of the rural Deep South. He liked to tell stories of his upbringing before the advent of electricity and in-door plumbing. He would wax poetic about the childhood joys of accompanying his Uncle, Elton Bishop, an officer of the Georgia Revenue Service, on Uncle Elton's patrols to search out and destroy illegal moonshine distilleries. Jim, of course, already knew where all of them were hidden. Hide and seek was a fun game for an eight year old.
While he was in high school, Pearl Harbor was attacked. Jim wanted to quit school and enlist. His mother convinced him to finish high school. After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy in the summer of 1944. He served as a gunner on a destroyer in the Pacific theater until the end of World War II. Only in his latter years did he, somewhat reluctantly, speak of the horrors he witnessed in combat.
After separation from the Navy, he went to Georgia Teacher's College (now Georgia Southern University) where he earned his Bachelors Degree in Education in two years. In 1948, he started teaching high school history and math, as well as coaching football, in South Georgia. In 1951, he met Ann Beale, a fellow teacher on the faculty. They were married in the summer of 1952.
In 1958, with two children, and a baby on the way, he and Ann came to Florida to seek a job with a better salary. He found a teaching position at Cocoa Junior High School (now Clearlake Middle School). After moving to Rockledge, he found part-time work at Belks and RCA to augment his teaching income. In 1961, he took a summer job as a manager at Radiation, Inc. (now Harris Corporation). It was, as Jim said, a long summer. He retired from Harris in 1995 after thirty-four years with the company. He was proud to be a part of the team that put a man on the moon.
He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Cocoa for fifty-five years. He served in almost every lay capacity within the Church during those years. He was a devoted family man, husband and father. Although he worked long shifts at Harris, he was always home for dinner, returning to the office after putting the children to bed, to work late into the night. Somehow, he always found time to attend his children's concerts and to work the concession stands for the band boosters. If you wanted a job to get done, you gave it to Jim Bishop.
Everyone who knew Jim loved him and counted him as a friend. In his retirement, he and Ann traveled extensively until she passed in 2004. He was devoted to his granddaughter's Caitlin Donnelly and Rachel McCalley.
He made everyone he met feel special. He truly lived his faith and reflected Jesus Christ to everyone he met. His family and friends were blessed to have known this beautiful spirit.
He now is with his beloved wife, Ann. He has a new and perfected body. There is no more pain and he is joyful.
Jim is survived by his children Marilyn B. Donnelly; James A. Bishop, Jr. (Cheryl); and David A. Bishop; grandchildren Caitlin Donnelly and Rachel McCalley.
God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good.
There will be a memorial service held to celebrate the life of James Aubrey Bishop, Sr. at the First United Methodist Church of Cocoa, 825 Forrest Avenue, Cocoa, Florida, 32922, on Saturday, July 27, 2013, 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the music fund of the First United Methodist Church of Cocoa, 825 Forrest Avenue, Cocoa, FL, 32922.