By Rick Palsgrove
Former Groveport Madison High School principal and assistant superintendent Charles Bishop passed away on Jan. 12 at age 93.
During a 30 year career in education, Bishop began work for Groveport Madison Schools in 1965 and served as the Groveport Madison High School principal from 1966 to 1975 as well as assistant superintendent from 1975 until he retired in 1980. He was the high school principal when the school transitioned from the old high school on Groveport’s Main Street to the then new high school on South Hamilton Road in 1970-71 (which was demolished in 2018 when the newest high school opened). He also worked in the Cuyahoga Falls and Lancaster school districts during his long career. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg and his master’s from Marshall University. He was also a World War II Navy veteran.
Bishop came to old Groveport Madison High School during a community open house in May 2018 to sit in his old office one last time before the school was demolished in the summer of 2018.
“I remember when this building opened,” said Bishop during the pre-demolition open house.
He brought with him a black neck tie emblazoned in red with the letters “GMHS” that he wore in those days.
“This office was much smaller when I was here back then,” recalled Bishop. “They’ve made it bigger. I enjoyed my time in this building along with the people who were here. I hope that those in the new high school will also have enjoyable experiences.”
Bishop’s son, Dwight, said “teaching was foremost” for his father.
“Dad had a good rapport with the students and teachers at Groveport Madison,” said Dwight. “He had a knack for hiring really good teachers and coaches. He would hire the best to get the best results. He always felt he was in the right place while he was at Groveport. He strove to give the kids the education and respect they deserved. He was fair. He always gave everyone a chance.”
Dwight said Charles Bishop attended as many Cruiser football, basketball, and other sports as much as he could, as well as school concerts and plays.
“Dad really liked Groveport and the people there,” said Dwight.
Dwight noted that former students were happy to see his father during his retirement years.
“They were always enthused to see dad,” said Dwight, who noted one former student was brought to tears of happiness to see Charles during the open house at the old high school.
“That sentiment reflected the profound respect the kids had for dad and the respect he had for them,” said Dwight.
Upon hearing of Charles Bishop’s passing, some former students and teachers shared their memories of their high school principal:
•“Our senior year during football season he brought his son up to school and had me take him to a couple of my classes,” said Craig Ottman, a 1974 graduate of Groveport Madison High School. “Mr Bishop was a wonderful person and man. My prayers go out to his family and their loss.”
•“Not only did he help me through school, but even after I became a principal and central office administrator in Lancaster many years later, he’d come to visit me in my office,” said Kathy Rexford, Groveport Madison class of 1974. “I heard lots of stories from people there about the quilting store he and his wife Betty owned. A special man!”
•Former art teacher Ed Kitchen said in a Facebook comment, “He was a guidance counselor at Lancaster High School when I was there. His wife, Betty, and he had ‘A Stitch in Time.’ a quilt gift shop. He brought a number of staff with him to Groveport Madison, including me!”
•“I was a student when he started as principal at the high school,” said Sandy (Palsgrove) Seelenbinder, a 1968 Groveport Madison graduate and a former teacher in the district. “Later I was a member of his staff at Groveport Madison. He cared about the students’ education and was a staunch supporter of his staff. He is an example to be followed by those now working in education.”