Dave Bishop, former legislator representing the City of Rochester in the Minnesota House of Representatives, died August 3rd, 2020 at the age of 91. He was a high-energy, independent-minded lawyer whose tireless efforts to help people benefitted the city and state as a whole.
David Tyre Bishop was born March 09, 1929, in Syracuse, New York to Wesley and Elva (Tyre) Bishop. Dave's lifelong pursuit of education began in Syracuse, where he graduated from Nottingham High School. He was a 1951 graduate of Hamilton College and received a J.D. from Cornell University Law School specializing in International Affairs in 1954 and a Master degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government in 1991.
It was at a spring dance in 1953 that Dave met fellow Cornell student, Beatrice Habberstad of Rochester, Minnesota. A whirlwind romance ensued first in Ithaca, New York, then in Paris, France culminating in their engagement and marriage on July 24, 1954 at the First Presbyterian Church of Rochester.
Following their marriage, Dave began his professional career with the law firm of Furlow, Pemberton and Michaels, becoming a partner in 1956. Although Dave's law practice often involved divorce cases, he focused first on attempting reconciliation between spouses, believing that negotiation and compromise could save many marriages. Dave soon became involved in the civic and social organizations of his newly adopted hometown. He was most proud of the work he did as 'founding president' and Co-chairman of the YMCA building committee.
Dave withdrew from active law practice in January 1976 to pursue a real-estate development business that eventually encompassed extensive residential and commercial properties.
A self-described Eisenhower Republican, Dave worked behind the scenes of the area Independent-Republican party until 1982 when an opening presented itself in the form of a vacated seat representing the 33B District. Dave won the tight race and enthusiastically set off to start making 'good laws' for the city and state he loved. He expected to serve for two years but stayed for 20.
As a legislator, Bishop called himself a member of the "bridge-building caucus." He chose to make cross-party cooperation his norm while occasionally demonstrating partisanship--rather than the other way around. Known for his sense of humor and his ability to see all sides of every issue, Bishop earned respect from both parties along with that of the citizens of Minnesota whose praise meant the most to him.
Dave retired from public service in 2002, after which the Bishop's enjoyed traveling the world. and spending time with their 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren at their lake home in Wisconsin.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes is honored to be assisting the Bishop family. To leave a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
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I worked at the legislature from 1987 to 1999 with Rep. Dave Bishop. He was a tireless advocate for Rochester, and we had some wonderful philosophical and political discussion despite me being a Democrat and him being a Republican. I learned so much from him and am so grateful for having known him. May he rest in peace, although I suspect he is trying to right wrongs in heaven right now.
David was a friend of the Women's Shelter and Support Center and was instrumental in helping the organization in their efforts to help victims of domestic violence. He did this at a time when it wasn't popular to support victims, but he understood the of lethality of domestic violence. He recognized the need for services and pushed to make it happen and we are grateful for his inspiring strength and compassion. David's legacy has changed futures for thousands of victims of domestic violence, and will continue to help families for years to come. - On behalf of the Women's Shelter and Support Center, Barbara Schramm
David was my dear friend and friend to so many at the Legislature. He may have been the most effective legislator of our time...whether in the majority or the minority party. David was always looking for the best interests of Minnesota...not necessarily the special interests agenda. I loved this man! Steve Sviggum
Dear Bea and family,
We were so sad to hear of Dave’s death. When Jim read the obituary he said, “ I was proud to know him,” and I suspect everyone could say the same. I especially remember him as a champion of women, no mean feat for a male politician in Minnesota back in the day. We all benefited from his work (and he likely was a strong influence on increasing the speed limit on Highway 52). The important thing now is not to mourn his passing but to celebrate a life so very well lived.
Fondly, Jim and Pixy
I had the honor of serving with Dave for eight years and taking over the Ways and Means Committee from him after he retired. Dave was a true “pillar of the community” kind of legislator . Tremendously accomplished in his private life yet willing to put up with all the hassles of public life to serve his community and our state. I was advised when elected by another senior member that if I wanted to learn how to get legislation enacted into law I should watch Dave. Bea and family, you have Janet and my deepest sympathies.
It was my very great honor to carry the D.F.L .banner in legislative races with Dave. He and I shared so many positions in common and we learned from one another, not just about politics , but about language(s), religion, science and a myriad of other topics. Mostly it was great to know a man of such conviction and integrity.
Dave was also fun. We would talk privately on the phone and make wise cracks about about situations we encountered on the stump. He was always kind to people even if he thought they were wrong. Sometimes, we would cook up debates on topics which we thought not to the point.
He was also my landlord for many years and this led to some great conversations.
The State of Minnesota, the City of Rochester and his family and friends all received great blessings in his life
May he enjoy eternal rest.
The rev. Michael P. Forges
As the legislative staff person for the City of Rochester I worked with Dave on City legislation from 1982 to 2002. During that time the legislative approval of the Rochester sales tax in 1983, the first such legislative sales tax authorization in Minnesota, was the most difficult legislative undertaking for the City. Dave led that effort and secured passage in the House. I also worked with Dave on the subsequent City sales tax extensions in 1989, 1992, and 1998. Without Dave's leadership, tenacity and skill the following list of projects that have greatly benefited the citizens and the City organization would not have occurred: 1983 Flood Control, Mayo Civic Center Arena Expansion; 1989 Additional funding needed for flood control; 1992 City Hall, Rochester Public Library, Fire Station No. 1; 1998 Higher Education, US Highway 52 City Share, Rochester International Airport, Water Quality Funding that allowed 1500 Township Homes with failed septic systems to receive City sewer and water at a greatly subsidized cost, Additional Civic Center Improvements. Additional great work was done by Dave on several State bonding requests for the City and on one of Dave's favorite projects to move the DNR geese land further out and secure land for the expansion of RCTC for many activities including a partnership with City for college and youth sports, expansion of Quarry Hill, and land for Olmsted County campus. I know this is only a partial list of what Dave helped accomplish for Rochester citizens, but I hope it provides some concrete examples of what great work he did and how tremendously the community benefited. It was always interesting and intense working with Dave as he had a tremendous passion for helping his citizens and his City. Gary Neumann
It was my privilege to work for and with Dave, Bea, Lucy and Curt, you could always count on that you were going to get more from Dave in the form of advice or debate and that was the part of Dave that you'd relish.
Thinking of the family and sending hugs.
I very much want to send my love and best wishes to Bea and the Bishop family! David did so much for our city and state! He was a GOOD one! And he had a good wife, and a good family!
Bea and family. Thanks for letting my family be a part of yours. Dave always added a bit of wisdom and humor to our time together. I miss spending time with you all. May God's grace give you comfort in the coming days of heartache and loss. I'm praying regularly for you to find peace in his passing.
One of my favorite lawmakers of all time. Feisty, fun, smart, candid. He was special. Honored that we stayed in contact for many years following his retirement from the legislature.
I have many fond memories of Dave's amazing work in the community and Minnesota Legislature. As Chair of the Capital Investment Committee, Dave and I spent many hours together as he worked diligently and effectively to bring significant bonding resources for construction of higher education facilities on the UCR and RCTC campus. Dave was smart, politically astute, willing to bridge the political divide, able to broker compromise and always seeking ways to make Rochester and Minnesota a better place to live, work, learn and play. Today, probably more than ever, we need more Dave Bishop's. Sending thought's, prayers and sympathy to Bea and family.
I regarded David as a dear friend and wonderful legislative mentor. He always had ideas and expressed them with enthusiasm. When there were rocks in the road and a bit of apparent temper arose, you (or at least I) knew it was skin deep and a bit of a tease would usually bring a big smile. David was passionate about issues he cared for and even in the minority got things done often based on pure persistence. He was a great legislator and not infrequently is the subject of conversation when legislators talk about former members. Thank you David for what you did and how you did it. You were an inspiration to me and many. You left our city and our state a better place. Your life was truly a life worth living.
Dave was one of my all-time favorites in the Minnesota Legislature. Smart, funny, caring and collaborative. I am deeply sorry for your loss.
It was an honor serving with David in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He was an honorable man, ethical leader and dedicated and devoted public servant. The State of Minnesota is a better place because of David Bishop. Condolences to Bea and the entire family.
So sorry to learn of your loss. Dave brought energy and enthusiasm to everything he did. He fought the good fight, he finished the course, he kept the faith. Dave will be missed and remembered fondly by many.
Our sympathies to Bea and Family. Dave was a friend to me, I enjoyed working for him and his family for more than 20 years.
My sympathies to Bea and Marnie and the rest of the Bishop family. Dave was a longtime, great friend of my parents. He and my dad were involved in so many common interests including the Y and their investment club and many other things. I was able to visit with Dave last year while I was visiting my mother at Charter House and he shared several fun stories and I even got a stock tip out of him! He was a fun guy to be around.
Growing up in Rochester I would run into Dave from time to time. He would always stop and ask how I was doing as well as my family. I knew back then he was a well known lawyer in town back when Rochester was a population of 40K . But he always seem so down to earth and not scarry for a young kid.
So sorry to hear about the passing of my dear friend, Dave Bishop. We were seatmates and soul mates at the Minnesota legislature for a number of years. We did not always agree, but we had mutual trust in our advice to each other. Dave was a passionate worker who knew how to get things done. He has left his mark on our community and our state. My best wishes to Bea and the Bishop family. Let me know if I can be of service. God Bless.
I am so sorry to hear of his passing. Dave was a huge figure from my childhood. A big man with a big laugh, deep voice and a commanding presence. Sending love and prayers to Bea and all his children and grand children. ❤️
Dear Bea, last time I saw Dave he crashed our book club meeting at your house to give us a book review.
Sending love and sympathy. xx Vikki Wolff
Dear Bea, We will all miss Dave. He was a good friend .when I needed one. I will remember him forever. I enjoyed working with him and having laughs with him. Get your rest.
Dave was a fine man who did a lot of good work in his life. My memory of him is about how engaging he was, interested in each person he met and loving to talk about issues. He and my Dad were contemporaries and friends, and I remember how much my Dad respected Dave. I believe they worked together on many Y projects. As you mourn Dave’s loss, I hope you can also celebrate your countless great memories of this good man. My thoughts and prayers are with the Bishop family.
Dear Bea, I am so sorry to here about Dave. He had such a wonderful life, with his amazing family and his deep love for you. I enjoyed my many years with your family and especially my friendship with you and Dave. Fondly Lisa Garner
My sympathy to Bea and all the members of the Bishop Family. Dave was a bright interesting man and I enjoyed the visits that I had with him at Charter House. God Bless.