John Edward Bishop
(1950 - 2014)
John’s family has deep and long roots in East Rockaway, New York. This small, historic town on Long Island’s south coast is just minutes away from New York City. He worked and lived in the area all of his life and had very close connections with the village and a great knowledge of its history.
John earned a BFA with a major in Printmaking at St. John's University and an MA with a major in watercolor at CW Post University. After a few years of working for other schools, John achieved his goal of going back to his hometown.
His role as a dedicated and beloved teacher at East Rockaway High School earned him some local celebrity status. A modest and humble man, he would seldom admit it.
After 40 years in Art Education, John retired in June 2013. Thirty-five of those years were spent in East Rockaway in the very same school he attended as a young art student. “Bishop”, as most of his students called him, had a difficult time deciding to retire. He was one of those very few lucky individuals who discovered a destiny early in life. He knew he was an artist but also knew what he wanted to do with his talent. Teaching for him was a vocation, as much as art is. Sharing his wide knowledge of the subject was as important for him as practicing it. Teaching students to love art and, in the best of cases, helping them develop their talent and even shape careers, was one of the achievements of which John was most proud. He seldom stopped talking about it, relating seemingly thousands of happy tales (and the occasional sad ones) of the students whom he had taught over the years.
After a very short battle with brain cancer, John passed away on January 16th, 2014. Hundreds of friends, relatives, colleges and students attended the services. Thirty-five years' worth of former pupils from all over the country flew back to Lynbrook/East Rockaway (Long Island, New York) to pay tribute and express the love they all share for their teacher and mentor, Mr. Bishop. It is rare for a teacher to love and be so loved and admired during his lifetime; “Bishop” was such a man.
John: The Man, The Artist
Many of John’s colleagues at ERHS (East Rockaway High School) believe that there was never any other teacher through the history of the school more admired, loved and respected that the dedicated Mr. Bishop. Or simply Bishop, as many of the students called him. John was a living legend, not just in the classroom and the school but in the whole town.
As many friends and relatives would assert, walking with John through the school hallways, or better yet, through the town, was an overwhelming experience due to the amount of attention and the multiple demonstrations of love John received by the community. Just the simple fact that everyone recognized him was impressive.
Please click here to read the Long Island Herald interview with John Bishop, published on June 19th, 2013