It is with broken hearts that the family of Gerald Owen Bishop announces his sudden passing on Sunday July 5, 2020 at the age of 80 years, surrounded by his loving and devoted family.
“Jerry,” as everyone called him, was the oldest son of Mary Braye (Harbour Grace) and Arthur Bishop (Heart’s Desire) and is predeceased by his younger brother Arthur. He was a dedicated husband, father, “pop-pop” and friend. He leaves behind his loving wife of almost 55 years, Vera (née Wall, Grand Falls). Jerry also is mourned by his two children, Jennifer (Mark) and Stephen (Elizabeth); his three beloved grandchildren, whom he deeply adored, Matthew, Vivienne and Sadie; members of the Sheppard family, or as he would call them, the “family who raised him”; the Wall family; his sisters, brothers in-law, nieces, nephews, and a large circle of friends.
Jerry was born amid humble beginnings on September 16th, 1939, in Grand Falls, NL. At Grand Falls Academy, Jerry’s skill with numbers was noted by his Grade 8 teacher, who asked him to help teach older students. This is how he caught the eye of another teacher, Harry Cuff, who informed Jerry he had the smarts to attend university. Despite his protestations, strappings and occasional attempts to quit school altogether, Mr. Cuff and a circle of friends were able to help him stay the course. Jerry eventually earned scholarships to Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Tech, where he studied electrical engineering. After graduation, he enjoyed a long career as President and CEO of a local engineering firm engaged in offshore oil projects, and subsequently with a multi-national engineering and project-management company.
Jerry’s priorities were well-known to everyone who knew him. Family first, always. Followed by church, travel, reading, sports and his beloved hometown of Grand Falls. He was an especially proud Newfoundlander and a dedicated member of his congregation.
As part of a lifelong commitment to serving his civic and professional communities, Jerry served on the boards of the Newfoundland Offshore Oil Association, the Engineers Association of NL and the Consulting Engineers Association. He also served on the Memorial University Board of Regents, chaired the school’s Finance, Investment and Campus Planning committees; and helped lead fundraising efforts for the university’s Opportunities Fund, as well as for the Health Care Corporation, the Janeway Hospital, the NL Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Cancer Society (Circle of Distinction), the Single Parents Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Northwest Rotary.
Jerry was a tremendous athlete who excelled in several sports, being eventually inducted into the NL Sports Hall of Fame for both baseball and tennis. On the diamond, he was an outstanding catcher, but also versatile enough to excel at other positions. He played wherever and with whatever he could find. An old ball put together with duct tape and a broom handle was all he needed. Jerry was on the roster of both junior and senior All-Newfoundland Championship teams for Grand Falls, and continued his playing career in St. John’s for the Feildians. Former teammates insisted he could “catch the ball in the dark.” Yet he was modest, and we rarely saw him celebrate his own achievements.
Jerry’s passion for tennis led him to create the province’s first year-round playing facility. He loved watching young Newfoundlanders develop their skills on courts at Riverdale and Greenbelt, and continued to champion their success at every level, including through the NL Tennis Association and the executive of local clubs.
Jerry appreciated every day he was given on earth as though it were his last. Cloud formations, the veins in rocks beneath his feet, leaves falling from trees, the perfect bottle of homemade jam—all of these were meaningful to him. Every hug was delivered as though it were his last, and every smile he gave came from a deep place. He shook hands with the same comfortable familiarity with everyone he encountered, and could not allow himself to pass a stranger on the street without saying hello as though he’d known him for years. There was never a bad person, just a good person having a bad day.
Jerry is resting at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road, St. John’s. To send a message of condolence, or to share a memory, please visit www.carnells.com. In keeping with pandemic-related restrictions, a private service will be held on July 9th at Mary Queen of the World Church. The funeral service will be livestreamed on Thursday, July 9 at 11:00 a.m. (www.mqwp.org). Donations in Jerry’s memory can be made to The Gathering Place (www.kindnesswanted.ca). The family wishes to express special appreciation to the excellent staff of St. Claire’s Mercy Hospital, and especially to Dr. Mabel Greene, whose care epitomizes the qualities of professionalism and compassion.
Jigs and reels, stories about the old days and a nip of port will be had during a Celebration of Life to be held at a later date. Details will be announced once we are able to assemble family and friends for a commemoration of a great and storied life, well-enjoyed to its last day.