NEWS – “Garland pays tribute to one of their own - Bill Bishop”

GARLAND – By Cari Doutre – September 21, 2020

Garland, Utah, Sept. 19, 2020 - Photo by John Hurley

Bill Bishop, a long-time resident of Garland City, made an impact on the community he loved and served for decades. Now it was their turn to thank Bishop for the nearly 50 years of volunteer work he did for his community, including 48 years as a volunteer firefighter for the Garland Fire Department.

Bishop, 81, passed-away on September 15, 2020, with his funeral held Sept. 19, at the Garland Tabernacle. It was an opportunity for his friends and family members, as well as the community, to pay their respects for the life-long resident of Garland who dedicated his life to serving others.

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Bill Bishop - Photo courtesy of Rudd Funeral Home

“Bill was a great man. I cannot count the times I went to talk to Bill with a problem. He could usually give me an answer and if he couldn’t, we would sit and discuss it until we found a solution,” said Rob Johnson, Fire Chief for the Garland Fire Department.

Johnson added that when he first joined the department it was Bishop that took the extra step to welcome him.

“He took me under his wing and made sure that I knew what was going on and that I felt needed on the department,” Johnson said.

As the funeral procession line made its way to the Garland City Cemetery shortly after his funeral, members of the community lined the streets as a show of respect and gratitude to Bishop for making the community a better place to live. Among those there that day were the very members of the community he spent those years volunteering with.

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Garland Fire Station, Sept. 19, 2020 - Photo by John Hurley

Firefighters old and young throughout the Box Elder County arrived in full uniform and participated in the procession line driving firetrucks of all makes, models and years. It was one last chance for them to honor this legendary firefighter whose philosophy was “just be yourself.”

“It is a tradition to use our antique to carry the casket. Bill had made his wish known that he wanted Steve Hales to drive the antique,” said Johnson.

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Garland, Utah, Sept. 19, 2020 - Photo by John Hurley
Steve Hales, Sept. 19, 2020 - Photo by John Hurley

Other local fire departments also went above and beyond to honor Bishop that day.

The Tremonton City Fire Department used their ladder truck to place an American flag high in the air close to the Garland Fire Department’s station, “so as Bill went by for the last time there was the flag to honor him,” Johnson said.

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Garland, Utah, Sept. 19, 2020 - Photo by John Hurley

The former firefighter was given full military honors during his graveside service including the bell ringing as Bishop’s final page.

In Bishop's obituary, his family wrote this about him:

“He loved the small town and had a strong conviction that Garland couldn’t exist without the service of volunteers.”

Find Bishop’s obituary in full HERE posted by Rudd Funeral Home.

That afternoon while Bishop was being honored, a double rainbow appeared above the Garland Fire Station and the city offices.

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Garland, Utah, Sept. 19, 2020 - Photo by Megan Mitchell

Bishop was true to his conviction and showed it with close to 50 years of volunteer work in Garland City alone while 48 of those years were spent as a volunteer member of the Garland Fire Department. Four of Bishop’s years on the fire department were spent as the department’s fire chief. In addition to his work on the fire department, Bishop served on the Garland City Council for six years and two years on the planning and zoning committee.

The long list of Bishop’s volunteer service spanning close to five decades earned him Garland City’s annual Wheelon Award in 2009. This is Garland City’s annual award and recognition given to members of the community that have contributed greatly to the community over the years.

“In the fire department we always talk about the brotherhood of firefighters. With Bill, it was more like he was a father figure to me. I sure will miss the talks and the friendship we had,” said Johnson.

Photo coverage provided by John Hurley