Dr. Walter L. “Chick” Bishop, 82 of Litchfield passed away on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at 5:40 a.m. at HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield. He was born on October 7, 1935, he was the son of Walter Lawrence and Mary Francis (Burke) Bishop of Litchfield. He married his high school sweetheart Hester Williams of Litchfield.
Surviving are his wife, a sister Judith (Dr. Eric) Strohmeyer of Bozeman, MT; his children, daughter Jane Bishop of Evergreen, CO; and sons Charles (Tammy) Bishop of Cantrall, IL; Dale (Becky) Bishop of Litchfield, IL; Don (Lisa) Bishop of Mustang, OK; Glenn (Kim) Bishop and Ben (Cheryl) Bishop of Litchfield, IL. He has many wonderful grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Colonel Thomas Bishop; and two sisters Mary Lou Pitman and Elizabeth “Betty” Robey.
He was a graduate of Litchfield Community High School Class of 1953.
He received his Bachelor’s degree in Education from SIU Carbondale in 1958; a Master’s degree from SIU Edwardsville in 1963; and a Doctorate of Education from Illinois State University in 1975. He excelled in many sports in both high school and college. He lettered in football, wrestling, and track at SIU Carbondale. In the late 1950s-early 1960s he served in the Army and the Illinois National Guard.
He was a teacher and administrator at every level, elementary through graduate school. His long career in education began in 1958 as an elementary teacher at Raymond Grade School. He was the principal and sixth-grade teacher at Ida J. Russell School in Litchfield from 1959-1967. From 1967-1977, he served as the Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools. He later served as Superintendent of the Livingston School District. He was an associate professor at Northern Illinois University, a professor and department head at the University of Northern Iowa, the Director of the Springfield Education Consortium at Sangamon State University and served as a consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education.
He was awarded the American Educators Medal in 1973 from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. His passion for education continued throughout his life. He penned the statement, “Education is the Eternal Flame of Freedom.”
He was an avid supporter of his local community, served on many committees and was sought out to be a keynote speaker throughout the years. His love of patriotism was evident as he served as the keynote speaker for 36 years for the local chapter of The Voice of Democracy, an annual nation-wide scholarship program sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He wrote the Agriculture section for the Litchfield Sesquicentennial Book. He was well-known for his knowledge of farming, antique farm equipment and the history of the Old West. He was instrumental in organizing numerous trail rides and was called upon to judge many horse and antique farm equipment shows throughout central Illinois.
He was a member of the Christian Church of Litchfield.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
The family suggests memorials to the Christian Church of Litchfield, P.O. Box 45 Yaeger Lake Trail, the Montgomery County Cancer Association 19 Circle Drive, Litchfield and HSHS St. Francis Hospital 1215 Franciscan Drive, Litchfield.
Plummer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.