Oswald Julius "OJ" Bischoff, a native Houstonian and third-generation Texan, passed away on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at the age of 88. OJ was born in the Heights neighborhood of Houston, Texas on June 8, 1924. Part of the Greatest Generation, at age 17, OJ volunteered as a Coast Guardsman in World War II. Enlisting on March 10, 1942, he served on the original crew of Destroyer Escort USS Hurst as an Electrician First Class, completing 24 roundtrip convoy missions across the Atlantic in support of the Allied Forces and making three passages through the Panama Canal. Aboard the USS Hurst, OJ and his shipmates also participated in convoy missions in preparation for the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. Following V-E Day, the USS Hurst traveled to the Pacific Theatre where OJ supported the search for survivors of downed aircraft on South Pacific Islands until being honorably discharged on April 16,1946. OJ kept in close contact with his shipmates throughout his life.
Following the War, OJ returned to Houston and married Elvie Staples Bischoff, who remained his loving and steadfast companion for 67 years. OJ attended the University of Houston and then began his professional career at Gribble Stamp & Stencil Co. In 1974, he set out on his own, founding Approval Stamp Works with one other employee. Together with Elvie and son Mike-and daughter Dee and her husband Jerry from 1977 to 1979-OJ grew the business, eventually employing 85 people and producing over 6000 custom marking devices per day at the time he sold the company to Johnson Worldwide Associates in 1991. Each of OJ's three children, including his oldest son Richard, followed his example and started successful small businesses of their own.
An active member of his community, OJ served on the vestry of The Church of the Good Shepherd, and later became a member of The Church of St. John the Divine. OJ was also an Associate Board Member of the Shriner's Hospital of Houston, and an original Salt Grass trail rider from 1954 to 1958-primarily on the Houston Jaycees wagon where he served as Co-Wagon Boss. OJ also served as a Chapter Advisor for the Reagan Chapter Order of DeMolay, a Chaplain at the Wilbourn and Jacques DeMolay Masonic Lodge, and as a member of the Houston Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Houston Scottish Rite, the Arabian Shrine Temple, the Royal Order of the Jesters, and the Downtown Rotary Club of Houston.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Oswald Julius, Sr. and Ann Logan Bischoff, and sister, Margaret Ann Bischoff Stelly. Surviving OJ are his three children, Richard Lee Bischoff, I and wife Linda, Dee Linda Jackson and husband Jerry, Michael Lynn Bischoff, Sr. and wife Colleen; eleven grandchildren, Regan Jackson Jurick and husband Keith, Jeremy Joseph Jackson and wife Sarah, Brandy Bischoff England and husband Seth, Anthony Joseph Heins and wife Alex, Richard Lee Bischoff, II, Jonathan Paul Heins and wife Patrice, Michael Lynn Bischoff, Jr., Kathryn Francis Bischoff, Lauren Elizabeth Bischoff, Alexandra Mullane Bischoff, and Andrew Thomas Bischoff; and two great grandchildren, Hodges Elizabeth Jackson and Maddox Paul Jurick.
A caring man, who always put family first, OJ spent countless hours at family events. Known affectionately as "Paw Paw" to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, OJ seldom missed a grandchild's dance recital or ballgame. He spent some of his most cherished moments at his lake house, "The Bischoff Compound," where his large, loving family gathered and built around him.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2013 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at Heights Funeral Home, 1317 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008. In celebration of OJ's life, a memorial service will be held on Monday, April 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM at The Church of St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Blvd., Houston, TX 77019, with The Reverend Laurens Hall and The Reverend Doug Richnow officiating. Serving as pallbearers during the service are OJ's grandchildren, Jeremy, Keith, Anthony, Lee, Jonathan, Michael, and Andrew, and his nephew, Patrick Stelly. In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests that memorial contributions be directed to The Beacon, 1117 Texas Ave., Houston, TX 77002, or The Arbor School, 1635 Blalock Rd., Houston, TX 77080.