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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Wayne Bishop would agree that he was fun to be around. He was kind, fun-loving, and loved joking around with all who were near. Wayne was a devoted family man and was filled with great joy to witness his family grow to include his three children and four granddaughters who were his greatest source of pride and joy. Wayne was a longtime resident of Middleville and actively involved with his local community. Deeply loved, Wayne will be forever missed.
Wayne’s story starts in the year 1954 when Claude and Arlis (Criner) Bishop were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Wayne LeRoy on August 4th, in Owosso, Michigan. Raised on the family farm in St. John’s, he was the oldest of three children and was joined in his family by his sisters, Evelyn and Claudia.
In many ways Wayne was a young boy of his generation. His father worked at Fisher Body in Lansing while his mother was a busy homemaker. Wayne was a quiet child, very mechanically minded and had a love of aviation. A student at local schools, Wayne attended a one-room schoolhouse through the 8th grade, and later attended St. John’s High School where he was active in the FFA. He always like airplanes and started to learn how to fly while still in high school. He graduated in 1972 and from there attended Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma and got his A&P License. After graduating from the Spartan School of Aeronautics in 1975, Wayne moved to Saginaw and got his first job at Harry Brown Airport in Saginaw.
From there, Wayne went to Ionia and worked at the Ionia County Airport. This proved to be a fateful move as it was there that he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Kathie, and she was his sailplane instructor. They met in the spring of 1977, started dating in the fall and married the following May 6, 1978, at Grace UMC in Lansing. The newlyweds then enjoyed a honeymoon to Niagara Falls.
After living in Saginaw for a time, Wayne and Kathie moved to Comfort St in Lansing, and it was there that they were blessed with the birth of their first of three children, Robert, in 1980. Two years later, Brian came along. The family then moved to the Middleville area where their third child Kevin was born in 1987. Wayne continued pursuing his dreams and eventually earned his bachelor’s in business at Grand Valley State University. The bulk of their years were spent in the Middleville area and is where Wayne called home for the past 26 years.Wayne continued to enjoyed a successful career in the aviation field that he loved with the past six years spent working at Duncan Aviation.
There was nothing Wayne treasured more than being with his family. When the boys were in school, Wayne went to all of his sons’ activities. For years, Wayne was very active in South Kent Sportsmen’s Club, where he competed in pistol shooting, was a range officer, worked on the Board of Directors and regularly volunteered at the club.
Some of the family’s favorite memories with Wayne were made at the family cottage on Marble Lake in Coldwater, MI. There, they did plenty of fishing, boating, bonfires, and swimming. Most every summer, Wayne would pack up the family for camping trips to local state parks. More recently, they enjoyed visiting their boys as two are in the Air Force and have been stationed all over the country.
Throughout his life Wayne was a man of many interests. He could fix almost anything and enjoyed woodworking. Wayne liked reading history, particularly about the Civil War and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. After growing up on a farm, he was a farmer at heart so he had a love for tending to his vegetable garden for several years. With a soft spot for animals, they had three dogs that were like additional members of his family. Wayne loved cooking and was famous for his peanut brittle, sausage gravy and biscuits, and everything that was part of their taco Tuesday tradition. An avid outdoorsman, Wayne liked fishing and hunting for both birds and deer. Because two boys went to MSU, he was a longtime Spartan fan. His favorite meal was liver and onions, and his favorite drink was a Rusty Nail. When relaxing, Wayne enjoyed a good western movie.
Described as an all around good guy, Wayne Bishop was truly one of a kind. He was a big guy with a heart of gold who did what he could to brighten the days of everyone around him. Wayne was funny, and he loved getting people laughing whenever he could. Although he dealt with diabetes for over 20 years, he faced that and whatever trial came his way head on. A friend to many, Wayne will never be forgotten.
Wayne Bishop, of Middleville, died March 10, 2018, in Kalamazoo. Wayne’s family includes his wife, Kathie Bishop; 3 sons: Robert Bishop, Brian (Sarah) Bishop and Kevin Bishop; 4 granddaughters: Adeline, Brighton, Isla and Hadley; his mother, Arlis Bishop; 2 sisters: Evelyn (Dave) Killingsworth and Claudia (Rick) Clark; and many nieces and nephews. Wayne was preceded in death by his father, Claude Bishop.
A celebration will be held Sunday, March 18, 2018, where family will receive visitors from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 followed by a reception in the Life Story Center. Please visit Wayne’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to American Diabetes Association.