BY RENEE HENDRIX –
Being born into WWII, overcoming two battles with cancer, and personal loss during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, it’s easy to understand Nita Bishop’s favorite scripture…Philippians 4:18- “And my God will meet all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Bishop credits God with her rich, full life and her ability to overcome any obstacle. Born in San Angelo, TX during WWII, Bishop’s mother worked in an ammunition factory and her father was in the Navy stationed in the Philippines. He was later transferred to Pearl Harbor after Japan attacked on December 7, 1941. He helped with the clean up and reconstruction of the Hawaii base. During this time Bishop and her mother lived with a Greek woman who spoke no English. From 6 weeks old to age 4 Bishop spoke exclusively Greek and her mother would have to get the woman to translate for her.
Due to her father’s line of work they moved frequently and by the age of 10 Bishop lived in Dallas, TX. She attended the University of North Texas on a scholarship. However, due to school regulations at the time, she had to forfeit her scholarship when she married her best friend and love of her life, Charles.
In 1962 the Bishop family moved to Houston, Tex. where her husband attended and graduated from the University of Houston. Then, in 1964 they returned to Dallas to raise their family until their eventual move to Mena in 2002.
Well-qualified to offer advice for a long and happy marriage Bishop said, “Keep God in the center, talk through your problems, laugh much and always, always be best friends.” She and her husband will be celebrating 54 years of marriage in June. “Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition, but more like an 80/20 proposition with each partner giving and taking 80 or 20% as fits the occasion.” The couple have two children, Kelly Himes and Stephen Bishop, and two grandsons. Bishop states the greatest thing about being a grandmother is watching her two grandsons grow into fine young men. Both are so well mannered and have excellent grades. She credits her daughter on “raising them right.”
She says her family has always shared a passion for music along with her husband who majored in music; her daughter who is a voice/drama coach; her oldest grandson who is a music major; and her youngest plans to become a performance major in French horn.
Bishop is a two time cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 1992 with breast cancer and later uterine cancer in 1998. In addition to overcoming cancer, she endured knee replacement and an artificial shoulder. “My husband has been an excellent caregiver during all my illnesses, God has been good!”
After working 25 years for a ‘Big 8’ CPA firm, Ernst & Young LLP, as a human resources manager she retired. Her experience along with the magic of technology allowed her to live in Dallas but work for an office in New York City and tele-commuted when she was not traveling between Dallas and NYC. Bishop recalls a very difficult time for her and her company following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, where she also lost 3 of her co-workers. Bishop says it was several years before she could visit Ground Zero.
Bishop retired after moving to Mena in 2002. She and her husband firmly believe that God led them here for a purpose. During her time in Mena, she has been a Polk County Master Gardener and wrote their monthly newsletter. She has also volunteered at the Mena Art Gallery and wrote their monthly newsletter as well. Bishop joked saying she stays so busy in various volunteer activities that she is unsure how she ever had time to work.
She and her husband attend Mena First United Methodist Church. The church recently received a new pastor, Rev. Ann Ferris, who is revitalizing the church and helping the church to become a pillar of the community.
Bishop says her one regret in life is not changing her college major and going to medical school to become a doctor. “My goal is to continue learning as long as God gives me breath.”