Forrest H Bishop
September 17, 2016
|Forrest “Holly” Bishop
Forrest Holly Bishop was born in Longview on Dec. 26, 1926, and passed away on Sept. 17, 2016, following a serious fall outside the family home.
Known as Holly to family and friends, he attended grade school, high school and college in Longview. He was a well-known beloved community member and town historian. He and Roberta “Bobbie” Bishop, who preceded him in death in 2012, celebrated 63 years of marriage and raised five children in Longview.
His reputation as a great communicator and extrovert began early for Holly and served him well throughout his life. At R.A. Long High School he lettered in football for three years, sang in the Glee Club and earned his first stripes as a disc jockey at the age of 16.
He graduated in the middle of his senior year and in 1944 enlisted in the Navy. Home for only one day following boot camp in San Francisco, he was flown to Hawaii and his DJ experience became his contribution to the war effort. Working with radio and newspaper correspondents, he was sent to Okinawa, one day after “D Day” in Normandy, France.
The 82-day battle, named the “Typhoon of Steel,” lasted from early April until mid-June. Fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa, it was the largest assault effort in the Pacific during World War II. Holly and his crew set up a 50,000-watt short wave broadcast station and he was given the job of control room operator. He was responsible for recording and traveling with the war correspondents into the battle zones, and clearing reports for rebroadcast to the commercial radio networks, NBC, Red and Blue Net, CBS and ABC.
His team provided vital information to the troops and public via their radio communication. Holly remembered hearing the teletype that rattled non-stop night and day to relay information and stories to the newspapers in the United States and families back home.
Holly witnessed first-hand the ferocity of the war, and the sheer numbers of allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The Battle of Okinawa had one of the highest number of casualties: The Japanese lost over 100,000 troops, and the allies suffered more than 50,000 casualties, with over 12,000 killed in action, while hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed, wounded or committed suicide. Approximately one quarter of the population died due to the invasion. Holly saw and heard it all first-hand, including the nightly air attacks by the Japanese and the numerous American graves dug along the seashore.
His last assignment was to broadcast from Tokyo the Japanese surrender from the deck of the Battleship Missouri. All the networks and world were listening and their signal was selected as the strongest to broadcast to the nation and world. For this and other jobs the president of the United States presented the “Unit Citation” award to that Naval organization for “distinguishing itself in action against the enemy with outstanding heroism.”
After the war ended he joined the armed forces radio in Okinawa and Holly and his team entertained troops. He started a “Dear John Club” and military personnel would give him letters from their girlfriends back home to read on the air. Holly enjoyed his time in the Navy and it informed his career and future businesses.
When he returned home to Longview, he married Bobbie and started a family. He built and sold two commercial broadcast stations, operated a grocery store with his parents, worked in the theater and became a ship chandler.
He then began his longest lasting business as a bail bondsmen called Bishop’s Bail Bonds. For over 45 years, he earned the respect and confidence of his colleagues and clients alike, retiring this year at the age of 89.
He served four-terms as president of the Washington State Bail Agents Association as well as treasurer. He was elected nationally as the United States Professional Bail Bondsman of the Year in 1998. This recognition allowed him to work closely with senators and congressman on the local and national level regarding issues he cared about. Holly put service over self and demonstrated the importance of contributing to one’s community. Always passionate and informed about local politics, he ran for Longview City Council and served for two terms.
Holly loved his alma mater, R.A. Long, and his entire family has strong ties to the school. His five children, Dave, Dan, Dawn, Darla and Heather are graduates, along with one of his grandchildren. Holly has served as a Booster Club president, concessions manager, football announcer and was awarded the 12th Man Trophy for his passion to the high school, along with his friend, the late Clyde Shadiow.
He was inducted into the R. A. Long Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in 2011.
Holly was a member of the Kiwanis Club for decades, where he was president and officer many times, and was instrumental in beginning the Kiwanis scholarship program. His favorite project started several years ago in partnership with the Longview Police where he and other members raised $50,000 to purchase four K-9s for the local law enforcement agencies. The K-9 program trains dogs for search, rescue, and assisting in arrests but very often, lacks public funding. The Kiwanis now supports six weeks of training for officers and dogs before they serve together on the police force. To date, the dogs have assisted with over 200 arrests. The program has become a model for other service clubs in Southwest Washington, Northwest Oregon, and featured in the Kiwanis magazine and newspapers throughout the Northwest.
Holly is survived by four of his children and their spouses, David Bishop, Dan and Ann Bishop, Dawn Bishop, and Heather and Doug Bakko; eight grandchildren, Lacey Standley, Adam Bishop, Nathan Bishop, Jeremy Bishop, Todd Bishop, Meena Akhavan, Dustin Nicholas and Alexandria Akhavan; two great-grandchildren, Trinity and Logan Standley; in addition to the many family friends, colleagues and community members who worked and volunteered beside him for decades.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Darla Bishop in 2007; a daughter-in-law, Robin Bishop in 2012; and two sons-in-law, Hamid Akhavan in 1994 and Claude Ostgaard in 2012.
A memorial service for Forrest Holly Bishop is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 at the Cowlitz County Event Center followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Holly Bishop Kiwanis K-9 Fund via a check to Kiwanis, P.O. 733 Longview, WA 98632 or a direct deposit at Fiber Credit Union. The monies donated will provide on-going and needed support for local K-9 programs founded by Holly in 1997.
For some memorial service snapshots, click photo below:
September 23, 2016
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