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RandyWakeman
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Plainfield, ILLINOIS
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We Forgot

The man did not have an imposing presence. Not remarkably tall, not remarkably handsome, not particularly well-dressed. Yet, there was a certain charm about him, a twinkle in his eyes, a grace in his manner, a subtle warmth about the way he carried himself. We were too young to appreciate him fully.

He invited us into his home. He listened attentively to our problems of the day, and always had words of encouragement. He must have had his own concerns, but he never mentioned them. He always welcomed us with a soft smile, he never seemed too tired for us, or of us. Looking back, he should have been.

Some called him a thief, a money grabber, a con man. He weathered these attacks amiably, with perhaps only a gentle frown. He did not live particularly well, he showed no signs of a man of wealth. Certainly, he ran a business as his means of providing for his family. It was hard to see how he could pay his bills, there was no great quantity of sales. We were younger then, we didn’t understand, though we thought we knew a great deal.

Yes, we did business with him, of sorts. We bought what we could, but we could not afford much. We didn’t realize till much later that he must have lost money by dealing with us. He must have just liked us? The prices he charged seemed less than they should have. He would give us things to try out, telling us to pay for them if we liked them, or when we could. There was no other place of business that treated us this well. He made us happy, yet now . . . we know that we did not respect him as we should have.

There were events, special events, at his place. Through his efforts, bright parts of the world were brought to our neighborhood. We saw and learned things we never would or could have otherwise. We were too caught up in ourselves to appreciate all this, but we knew he made our lives richer. Too late, we learned how important he really was to us.

He seemed to open up whenever we wanted. He did have posted hours, but he kept open for us like we were honored guests. We didn’t remember until too late to thank him. We didn’t realize what messes we made for him and his wife to clean up, what disarray we must have caused to his modest displays. He was a kind person, and seemed to enjoy what he did. He knew a lot more than we did, but he always gave our words more weight than they deserved. We thanked him, but we should have thanked him so very much more. We just didn’t know how back then.

Those of his rare kind are almost extinct now, and folks wonder why. His loss is loudly lamented, but his efforts were never as loudly lauded. The answers are blowing across the net, the reasons are in front of our eyes. Eventually, we recognized how far he put the wants of others above his own. We didn’t know that his wife was that sick, why didn’t we care enough to ask? We didn’t know he could barely pay his bills all those years, we selfishly, mindlessly thought they took care of themselves.

The mists of time have softened the specific memories, but sharpened our feelings of loss. Only now can we finally understand what a wonderful difference he made to all of us. We miss him, and we just learned how deeply we loved him. He was, after all, our magic dealer.


Randy Wakeman


Postscript:
William Lyle Bishop 1921-1999. William, born in Salem, OR, son of Albert Carl Bishop (deceased) and Mary Jane Graham Bishop currently residing in Toledo, OR. Survived by a sister Virginia Bishop of Fresno, CA and a brother Norman Bishop of Newport OR. Mr. Bishop was known as Billy Bishop, he attended the University of OR. He entered the Air Force and flew P-38 reconnaissance planes during World War II, achieving the rank of Major. He performed magic for servicemen and also the natives of New Guinea. After the war he met Elizabeth Ann Dawson who became his bride in 1949. They toured the country performing magic in theaters and nightclubs and made many
television appearances. He owned two magic shops in Oak Park, IL and Riverside, IL. He continued to teach and perform until he had a stroke in 1993. They sold the shops and home and relocated in South Salt Lake City, where they have been living for the past five years. They both worked and played as volunteers at the Friendly Neighborhood Senior Center.

On Jan 15, 1999 Bill and Ann celebrated 50 years of marriage at a party given them by their children and spouses. It was followed by a trip to
Hawaii where they visited with old friends.

Five surviving children, Tracey Bishop Atwell and her husband Bill, of Grapevine, TX, and her family, Jason, Paul, and Carly; Susan Mary Bishop and her sons, Walter and David of Salt Lake City; Bonnie Bishop Neuenswander and her husband David of Salt Lake City, now residing in Alpharetta, GA; sons Glenn Bishop, wife Joyce, and their children Sara, Sean and Jarod of St. Charles, MO, and Jack (Robyn) and their children Brianna, William Braeden and John Brody of Francis, UT. Eldest son Grant (1952-1984).

Mr. and Mrs. Bishop had returned from an enjoyable Christmas weekend in Francis UT. They were at home in South Salt Lake enjoying Red Skelton on TV, a favorite comedian. Mr. Bishop retired late and passed away peacefully at approx 12:30 am on his 78th birthday.
Viewing was held on Wed. Dec 29, 1999 from 6-8 pm and one hour prior to services on Tuesday Dec 30, 1999 at 11 am at Deseret Mortuary, Salt Lake City UT.
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