Those who knew Betty Bishop remembered her as someone who worked tirelessly to help her community and the people she knew and loved.
Bishop, a four-term Hillsboro mayor, city manager of Greenfield, and executive director of Turning Point Applied Learning Center, among other titles, passed away Monday, Dec. 5. She was 84.
She led the efforts that brought the Weastec company to Hillsboro and was a past president of the Ohio Mayors Association in addition to serving on many boards and commissions in and around Highland County.
“I tell you, Betty was an amazing woman and it’s sure going to be a loss for the whole community with her passing,” said Dinah Phillips, chairman of the Highland County Democratic Party. “Betty was one that was not only involved in political activities but also involved in community activities as she was a coach of Little League and really active in trying to turn youth’s lives around and set a good example for not only her life but in influencing the lives of many others.”
Phillips said Bishop was a great help to her professionally. “She was always giving me good advice when I wanted to call upon somebody because I’m the chairman of the party, and you don’t do that alone; you usually have to have help from others, and Betty was always one that was willing to help and always willing to give me her advice, and she was one that I guess you could say didn’t pull any punches,” said Phillips. “She told you the good and bad, and I’ll remember her for the advice she gave me and all the help that any party leader has to rely on from others, and she was one that you certainly could rely on.”
Highland County Court of Common Pleas Judge Rocky Coss echoed those sentiments. “I think Betty Bishop was probably one of the most outstanding public servants that we’ve had in Highland County in the last 50 years without question,” he said. “I mean the things she did in the community, and not just her public service as mayor and working in Greenfield as the development director and service director, but the things she did in schools and community groups and her church.”
Coss said Bishop’s efforts were never self-serving. “She did a lot of things for individual people and families in her community that didn’t get a lot of public attention, and she didn’t want attention,” said Coss. “She just was truly a person who cared about people and her community, and she didn’t expect recognition for those types of things; she did it because that’s just the kind of person that she was.”
Former Greenfield City Manager Ron Coffey said Bishop will be sorely missed. “It’s a sad occasion, but she was a woman of faith so it’s maybe more cause for celebration for her,” he said.
Coffey succeeded Bishop in the city manager role in Greenfield. “She was kind of a mentor to me and a friend, and she did a lot of good things for the community,” he said. “The time she took over was kind of a dark period when the great recession was going on, and she worked so hard to restore hope.”
Coffey said Bishop started the group that became the G3 (Grow Greater Greenfield) organization as well as the driving force in getting the area’s railway created. “That [the railway] supports about a thousand jobs or more here in the region, and she’s always worked to bring jobs and build hope,” said Coffey.
Coffey said Bishop had the ability to get people working together. “She was just an icon,” he said.
Bishop’s children gave The Times-Gazette the following statement: “Mom instilled in us the values she held dear to her heart; a love for family, a commitment to service, and a passion for God and His word. She raised us to be independent, loving adults always striving to continue her legacy of loving service to others.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.