March 26 • 07:40 AM

Ronald Clare Bishop, MD

Ronald Clare Bishop, MD

Died: Monday, December 22, 2008
Age: 87
Ronald Clare Bishop, MD, aged 87, Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on December 22, 2008, after several years of disability following a stroke.

Dr. Bishop was born on February 28, 1921 in Almont, Michigan, the third of six children of Leon Thomas and Emma Borland Bishop. He graduated from Almont High School (1938) in a class of 22 students, lettering in football and basketball. He entered Michigan State College of Agriculture (later Michigan State University) and University of Michigan Medical School three years later. Declaration of war during his first year of medical studies prompted an accelerated program, commission in the Army Medical Corps, and graduation in 1944. Peacetime brought further training: a rotating internship at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn and internal medicine residencies at Massachusetts General Hospital and the West Roxbury Veterans Hospital in Boston. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School in 1951, where he pursued a career in research, teaching and patient care in the Department of Internal Medicine, Hematology Division until his retirement in 1987. He was Chief of Medicine at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital from 1964 to 1977. Elected to the University Faculty Senate, he held the position of President of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs. He served as Director of the Unit for Human Values in Medicine (1981-1984), was a visiting scholar at the Hastings Center in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and taught for a semester at the Norman Bethune University of Medical Sciences in Changchun, China (1985).

Dr. Bishop married medical school classmate Nancy V. Rider, on April 22, 1945. After moving to the Burns Park area of Ann Arbor from East Ann Arbor in 1956, they became active in progressive civic, school, and cultural affairs. During his 50 years as a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, he sang in the choir, served as president of the board, chaired ministerial search and canvass committees, was active in denominational affairs, and chaired the capital campaign for congregation’s new home. The Unitarian Universalist District of Michigan honored Ron and Nancy as UUnsung Heroes in 1993. He served on the state and Washtenaw County boards of the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union, and received the latter’s highest honor, the Jerome Strong Civil Liberties Award, in 1997. He was elected to the Ann Arbor Board of Education in 1969. His concern for individual rights and equity fueled activities supporting separation of church and state, racial equality, and physician aid in dying. His love of music found expression throughout life, in solos with the Almont church choir, Glee Club at Michigan State, service on the board of the baroque orchestra Ars Musica, and always through listening, to great artists in concerts and recordings and to his grandchildren’s informal recitals. He began violin study in retirement, played chamber music at Blue Lake Music Camp, and performed with a Veterans Affairs National Orchestra.

Ron and Nancy were charter members of University Commons in Ann Arbor, where they moved in 2000. They moved to the Mennonite Home in Lancaster PA in 2005.

He was followed in death by his wife of 63 years, Nancy V. R. Bishop, on December 25, 2008. He is survived by his children Christine Bishop (Paul Arkema) of Weston, Massachusetts, David Bishop (Patricia Gorman-Bishop) of Florence, Massachusetts, Ellen Bishop of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Andrew Bishop (Stephanie Bashirian) of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; grandchildren David, Joanna, and Elizabeth Arkema, Rider Bishop, Erica and Suzanne Young, and Emma, Erica, and David Bishop; sisters Mary Jean Lane and Jane Ellen Bishop of Ann Arbor, Michigan and brother John Sherman (Geraldine) Bishop of Almont, Michigan; sister-in-law Olwen Bishop of Phoenix, AZ; Lucille Bishop of Leonard, Michigan; and many nieces and nephews. Two brothers, Truman of Midland, Michigan and Paul of Phoenix, Arizona, and son-in-law Mark Young of Allentown, Pennsylvania predeceased him.

A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor on April 4, 2009. Memorial contributions may be made to The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (, the Mennonite Home of Lancaster, Pennsylvania (
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