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Gary Michael Bishop

June 23, 2020 | 23 comments

Gary Michael Bishop of Ettrick, Wisconsin died June 17th, 2020 on his family farm. Gary was born on September 22, 1941 to Stanley and Esther (Severson) Bishop. He married Marilyn (Erickson) Bishop on September 12″”, 1964 at St. Bridget’s Parish, Ettrick, Wisconsin. Gary is survived by his wife Marilyn of 55 wonderful years. His two sons are Michael (Molly Sylla) and Mark (Angie Byom), all from Ettrick, Wisconsin. From Michael’s side are two, out of the four, grandchildren, Ashley (Jade Hoff) from La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Lindsay (Shawn Carpenter) from Beloit, Wisconsin, and two newest great grandchildren, Hunter Miller and Henry Hoff. From Mark’s side are the most recent two grandchildren, Dylan Bishop from Platteville, Wisconsin, and Destiny Bishop from Ettrick, Wisconsin.

Gary is preceded in death by his parents, Stanley and Esther Bishop, infant daughter, Michelle Ann Bishop, his brothers, Donnie, Sheldon, and Ricky Bishop, and Mother and Father-in Law, Marty and Bernice Erickson. Survived by siblings, Beverly Paulson of Ettrick, Wisconsin, Judy Scherr (Tom) of Trempealeau, Wisconsin, Dean Bishop (Marilee) of North Port, Florida, Linda Phillips of Trempealeau, Wisconsin, Lorraine Solsrud (Eliot) of Whitehall, Wisconsin, Sharon Bishop of Ettrick, Wisconsin, Cindy Moe (Neil) of Ettrick, Wisconsin, Rhonda Luebke (Brian) of Trempealeau, Wisconsin, and Sister-in-Laws, Glennis (Frank) Aielo Bishop of Ettrick, Wisconsin, Betsy (Jim) Erickson of Ettrick, Wisconsin, and Jodi Bishop of Isanti, Minnesota. Many nieces, nephews, cousins and great nieces and nephews relatives and friends.

After graduating from G-E High School he went to work for American Motors in Kenosha. Gary served in the United States Army for three years. Two of those were spent in Germany. He worked as a janitor and school bus driver for Ettrick Elementary for ten years. Afterwards, he went to Fort McCoy to work as a carpenter for 25 years. After retiring from Fort McCoy, Gary worked part-time as a substitute bus driver for the G-E-T School District. This eventually became his full-time job as he drove in the morning, noon, afternoon, and occasionally to a sport’s teams practices and games. He loved driving the school children around and told many stories to his family and friends about them. He saved every picture, card and paper he received from the children, often taking them to doctor appointments to show them off. Gary was very particular about his work and many projects he found to do on his farm. He and his sons, Michael and Mark, shared the love of hunting together. They were always there to help their father, such as cutting wood, taking care of machinery, and many other successful projects. Gary was a former member of Ettrick Fire Department for 16 years, past commander of post 354 of Ettrick and Trempealeau County, served on church council, and was a trustee on National Mutual Benefit (N.M.B) Branch 100 for many years. He loved to play cards and was a regular lottery player. He and Marilyn savored the times of taking their grandchildren on many adventures. In honor of their 50th anniversary, in 2013, Gary and Marilyn went on an Alaskan Cruise. They also visited places such as Mexico, Canada, and many states across country.

Thank you to the Ettrick First Responders, (E.F.D), and Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department for all their assistance and support.

In Lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to: American Legion (Post 354), Ettrick Rod & Gun, and/or Ettrick Fire Department (E.F.D). Due to Coronavirus (Covid-19), there will be a private family service officiated by Fr. Mark Miller & Fr, Nathan. We ask that you follow the protocol of Covid-19 safety. Family and friends are invited to drive by the Ettrick Elementary school on School St. to honor Gary on Saturday July 4, 2020 from 1-3 p.m.



  1. Kirk Shimek

    Sincerest Condolences to your family Michael, Mark and Marilyn.

  2. Joe Bishop

    Gary was a very great guy always had many stories to tell about his experiences on the bus and no that first hand from My grandson Gavin Dolsey he will miss him dearly. Gary was a first cousin and was a very special man. I couldn’t Thank Him enough for 150 th celebration for St. Bridget’s this last Fall he and Marilyn were the key factors for it’s success. Gary was on our church council for many years I thank him for his contributions. God Bless and Rest in Peace Gary.

  3. Rev. Mark Miller

    To the family and friends of Gary:

    I’m sorry about Gary’s death. Please know of my prayers for all of you. I will pray the Office of the Dead for him. May he soon see the Lord face to face!

    -Fr. Miller

    • Sacia Andersen

      So very sorry.

    • Allan & Carol Rindahl

      Marilyn and family- our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family on the death

  4. Tom & Claire Whalen

    I remember Gary way back when we road the bus to school. Gary and Marilyn were always so gracious in taking our grandchildren on tours of the farm.
    Our prayers are with you Marilyn and family. Tom and Claire Whalen

    • Dea Hertzfeldt

      So sorry for your loss. Sending prayers for the family.

  5. Sarah Misch

    We miss Gary dearly 💕 he was a wonderful man. We’ll always cherish the time we had with him 💕 The Misch family

  6. Terry Collins

    Condolences to Gary’s family. Prayers are with you and your family. God bless.

  7. Matt Wenthe

    Gary will be greatly missed by the G-E-T School District, especially by all the kids who grew up riding his bus.

    For 8 years, I gave Gary a thumbs up when the last kid walked out the door and he could lead the bus convoy from the middle school. I wish I could give him one more thumbs up on behalf of his service to the school.

  8. Debbie (Brush) Harter

    So sorry for your loss. Gary was a great guy. I have many Ettrick memories of him. Prayers and thoughts for you and your family.

  9. Sue Bakken

    So sorry for your loss. Gary touched a lot of lives. I’ve known that family for all my life. I sure enjoyed our visits every day at Ettrick Elementary when he would come to pick up his kids and when he returned. He’d always offer to carry my garbage to the dumpster. I would tell him that “you sure must not get anything done at home” as sometimes I’d see him three times a day. And he’d say “Not so bad, I enjoy the kids” I loved watching the kids greet him as he walked down the hallway. He sure will be missed. Sincere Sympathy to your family.

  10. Dick & Susan Teska

    Gary was a great guy, Susan knew him and all his siblings all her life and I knew him from High school whenever we would see him he always greeted us with a smile and would visit with us. Condolences to Marilyn and Family, Dick & Susan

  11. Jamie Thill

    I am so glad I was able to be at Ettrick Elementary this year and see Gary nearly everyday. He had many stories to tell and his memory was so good. He loved those kids on his bus and the many hugs he would get from them. I will miss seeing him at school and him bringing me treats from Marilyn:) He will definitely be missed!!

  12. Dea Hertzfeldt

    So sorry for your loss. Sending prayers for the family.

  13. Karen Deck

    So sorry for your loss.

  14. Sandi Thompson Melby

    I have many memories of Gary at Ettrick Elementary. He was the custodian there when I was a student. Gary would call me Sassparilla” and I would responded by calling him “Hairless.” I think both names were fitting and true. I also remember getting in the way of his push broom on a regular basis! Gary was always happy and I hope you keep your great memories close.

  15. Shelley Emerson

    Marilyn,Mike and Mark. You all have our deepest sympathy on the loss of your Husband and Father. I attended H.S. with the boys. Heard so many awesome things about Gary through the years of living in Ettrick. All those many memories are forever yours to keep in your hearts. One day we will all be able to continue with those memories and make more new ones. Until then cherish them until we meet up again. Prayers going up for ALL the Bishop Family & Friends. Shelley Emerson(Brianna)

  16. Bob Howe

    I knew Gary my whole life nicest man I ever knew not a mean bone in his body I will dearly miss his smile

  17. Kimberly Ziegler

    So sorry for your loss. Gary was a wonderful friendly man. And will be missed by all who knew him.

  18. Leona & "Red" Wall

    Our sincere Sympathy to Marilyn, Michael, & Mark & all the Bishop families. So very sorry to hear about Gary’s passing. He was a good man. Always seemed to have a smile on his face. He will be missed. RIP Gary!

  19. Amy Erickson Weinstein

    Rest in peace Gary. Sending all my love to Marilyn, Michael and Mark

  20. Steve and Sally Berekvam

    I met Gary about 18 years ago when I was looking for some old barn brick to use on my newly built porch. I remember my daughter finding an ad in the La Crosse Tribune selling “old barn brick”, we didn’t have the internet then. I called the phone number, only to have a very kind, gentle, older man answer. He welcomed me and my family to come to his farm to see the brick he was selling.

    When we arrived, Gary was outside working in one of his, many, out buildings, he greeted us with the typical “Midwest Nice” welcome. He began to tell us the story behind the barn brick. 15 years earlier a tornado had come through Ettrick and blew down his 100-year-old barn. Gary had, painstakingly pulled all the brick, removed most of the old masonry from each brick, and stacked and stored by size. I was amazed that this older gentleman had gone through all this work with the hope that others would be able to enjoy, just as he and his family had done for the last number of years. I ended up only buying around 30 bricks on this first, of many, trips to Gary and Marilyn’s farm.

    Over the years I ended up buying over 450 bricks from Gary, each trip to the farm was filled with new stories that Gary would tell. I used most of the bricks for a retaining wall and as I would extend the wall, I would call Gary up to see if he had any brick left. He always did and always invited me to see him with more stories.

    One year, as we were approaching Thanksgiving, my wife wanted me to build an old looking farm table. I had this vision of the type of wood to use, so we went out looking in the Driftless area, only to spend all day driving around, not finding anything that we liked. As we sat in Viroqua exhausted, the thought came into my head that Gary may have some wood. I immediately called up Gary, to my surprise he said he had all the wood from the 100-year-old barn. Again, he graciously welcomed us to his farm. When we arrived, Gary was out working in one of the out-buildings as usual. He took my wife and I into another building where he showed us the wood. I was amazed, first, because it was exactly what I was looking for, and second, Gary had removed all the nails from each board, sorted by size, and stacked neatly. I ended up only buying enough wood for my farm table, Gary was fine with that.

    Once my farm table was complete, my wife, the marketing person that she is, posted it on Facebook. Next thing you know, I was having requests to build more farm tables for others. As usual, I would call Gary up, make another trip to the farm to hear more stories. I ended up building about 10 different tables, one that is currently sitting in Chicago. Throughout the years my wife found other projects for me to build using this old barn wood; growth carts, wine racks, rail carts, coffee tables, all of which, people throughout the coulee region have purchased and have been enjoying, just as I have been doing. I ended up purchasing all this wood that Gary had meticulously placed in his out building. Gary would state, with a smile, “can’t hurt to have a little extra cash”.

    From the old brick wall in my backyard, to the farm tables that people are enjoying holidays on, to the growth charts that are keeping track of the young ones on, to the wine racks that people are relaxing with a glass of wine, this would not have been possible without Gary having the need to save this old barn, knowing others would enjoy some day. He was right, others are enjoying this old barn, many, many others are.

    So now I have a story of my own. That story is a about the old farmer that had a 100-year-old barn that blew down in a tornado, and how he graciously welcomed me to his farm for many years. I am now fortunate to have the opportunity to pass Gary’s memories on in many different forms of this old barn.

    Marilyn, just know that Gary’s story is all around us and will never be forgotten and will be missed tremendously.


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