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Goodbye to gifted editor, journalist Jim Bishop

April 20, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2013 at 11:20 p.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

Jim Bishop, my old Victoria Advocate colleague who died recently at age 69, was an indelible character, a big man in many ways.

Big body, big heart, big passion, big ego, big talent - that was Jim Bishop.

There were soft and jovial sides, too. Pam, his wife of 20 years, likened him to a "big ol' teddy bear."

His passion was the written word of newspapers. It began in Houston, his hometown, and was honed for a number of years in Colorado with a hand in a Pulitzer along the way. He returned to his native state a veteran editor, capping a long career with nearly two decades at the Advocate. And, my, what big tracks he did leave.

When he joined the Advocate, Jim first filled the chair I had occupied for 17 years. Ten years his senior, I readily moved over to the next office for sort of a role of advise and consent and know when to stand back and let my aggressive successor spur the newsroom full-speed ahead, as was his style. We developed a mutual respect and trust that lasted beyond retirement.

He was foremost a writer and dedicated writers' coach. The right words in the right place - written plain and clear - came easily and confidently to him. He wrote and edited and shared his skills with younger staffers as a man on a mission.

What also set him apart was a nimble mind. From Bible scripture to the space program, literature, classic movies, history and more, he had remarkable recall. He would have been a worthy contestant on his favorite TV show, "Jeopardy!" Victoria's traditional Knowledge Bowl is part of his legacy. Based on a program he knew in Colorado, he originated the local Literacy Council benefit, devised the questions and scoring system himself and emceed for several years.

Another subject dear to his heart was our military and its war veterans.

If there's a special place in the hereafter for gifted journalists, I imagine big Jim Bishop there keeping the newsroom lively.

Vince Reedy, Victoria

Editor's Note: Memorial services for Jim Bishop were conducted Wednesday in Houston.

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