TOWN OF MOHAWK — Whether doing business or just dropping in, Mohawk residents visiting the Town Clerk’s Office for years were warmly greeted by Supervisor Ed Bishop.
Bishop didn’t want to be “tucked away” in his office in the rear of Town Hall, Town Clerk Kimberly Sullivan recalled. The approachable man wanted to be where the people were.
“Every morning when I would come in, he would have my office open and he would be doing his word puzzle at my counter. I would start my morning with conversation with him,” Sullivan said Monday. “He wanted to be where the action was.”
Bishop died at his home on Sunday morning with his family by his side. He was 80.
Since he took office as supervisor in 2003, Deputy Supervisor Janet DePalma said Bishop was a dependable leader who townspeople could turn to for guidance and advice, whether the matter was official or personal.
More: All News | Fulton, Montgomery counties
“He was always there,” DePalma said. “Ed was a remarkable individual; he was a fantastic human being. He cared about his family, he cared about his friends, he cared about his community, he gave everything that he had to them.”
Fellow town officials described Bishop as a friend who will be sorely missed.
“Ed was the most likable person that I’ve probably ever met; he was kind, he was funny, he could put you at ease, you could talk to him about anything and he always had the town’s best interests at heart,” Sullivan said. “There will never be another Ed Bishop. He was one of a kind and will truly be missed.”
Nearly every day for the almost two decades he served as supervisor, Bishop could be found at the town offices. Even on his golf day.
“He would come in and have his golf clothes on, but he still came to work,” Highway Superintendent Bill Holvig recalled.
In recent years, DePalma said Bishop’s steadfast dedication to fulfilling the duties of supervisor carried him through the painstaking process of protecting the town from an attempt by the city of Johnstown to annex 260 acres of farmland from Mohawk to support the expansion of the Johnstown Industrial Park off of Route 30A.
“He spent an awful lot of time on that,” DePalma said. “Ed was just fierce in his fight to hold that off for the betterment of our taxpayers and our community, because it wasn’t in the best interest of our township.”
Bishop attended countless meetings after the annexation attempt was launched in 2015 until it was finally thwarted around 2019. DePalma credited his success to listening to residents’ concerns over the plan that would have led to industrial development alongside a residential area and holding officials accountable by ensuring the proper procedure was followed at every stage.
“He went to battle,” Sullivan said. “We didn’t back down.”
Beyond listening to residents, Holvig said Bishop carefully considered the opinions and ideas of town officials.
“He was a common sense guy, if something made sense to him, it went along with it,” Holvig said. “If he was opposed to something, he would also make that clear.”
Keeping the lines of communication open was similarly prioritized, according to DePalma, who said Bishop would always keep locals apprised of town business and invariably return residents’ phone calls.
Even after being diagnosed with cancer, Sullivan said Bishop maintained his hands-on approach to leading the town.
As his illness progressed, Bishop remained actively involved in day-to-day business while working from home until very recently. He was constantly available to support DePalma and answer questions as she helped carry out the supervisor’s duties in recent months.
“Our hearts are hurting right now over the loss of Ed. Not only was he a coworker and a peer, he was a part of our family,” said DePalma, who Bishop selected to serve alongside him as deputy supervisor when he first took office. “The town of Mohawk was so very blessed to have him as our supervisor for as long as we did and he will remain in our hearts always.”
Originally from Tully, Bishop’s professional career included 42 years with Frontier Communications that took him across the state before he retired locally in 2007, according to his obituary.
He was active in the community before becoming supervisor, having served on the Rotary Club, Loyal Order of the Moose, Fraternal Order of the Eagles and the Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education.
Bishop is survived by his wife, Nancy, five children, six grandchildren and one great-grandson.
A mass of Christian burial will be held at noon on Wednesday at the Holy Trinity Church at 205 Glebe St., Johnstown. Visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the church before the service. Internment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Fonda.
Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.
More: All News | Fulton, Montgomery counties
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Email Newsletter, Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, News