James C. Bishop Sr. ’38

Deceased May 15, 2012
(View alumni profile - Log-in required)

Read obituary

James C. "Jim" Bishop Sr.

Jim came to us from a Long Island farm but never left the good earth and achieved distinction as an agriculturist. He had to leave Amherst in midstream to help his ailing father run the farm. He later got a B.S. from Cornell, but cherished his earlier college ties.

His Chi Phi roommate, Austin Beach (d. 1999), became a lasting friend, helping him with chores on the Southampton farm and serving as his best man when he wed.

His son, James Jr., said, “He often spoke of Amherst. His father (William 1912) had gone there and he was pleased that two of his descendants gave serious consideration to the college for their own education. He did his all-important first two years at Amherst in chemistry, the foundation for his further studies.”

Jim died May 15, 2012, aged 95, in California, where he had moved with his young family after growing crops with his father to support the WWII effort. He got an M.A. in agricultural science at UC Davis and settled in Kern County, where he and his first wife, Ena MacKillop (d.1970), raised six children. Most of his work was as a researcher in vegetable crops for the improvement of farming in the San Joaquin Valley. He authored numerous scientific papers in a 37-year career with the University of California, mainly with the USDA Research Station in Shafter. His second wife, Martha, died in 2011.

In family remembrances, Jim is profiled as a handyman “who could build and repair almost anything,” and as a person of “strong Christian faith” who taught Sunday school, served on church councils and was a mentor to Scouts and other youth organizations.

Besides Jim Jr., he is survived by his other five children, Bill, Serena, Hugh, John and Ray; three sisters, 14 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

George Bria ’38