On Sept. 9, 2023, the world lost a true gem. Virginia Irene Bishop passed away after a brief but stubborn battle with colon cancer. Virginia (Ginny) loved a good story, so here is hers.
Ginny was born on June 16, 1950 in Red Wing, Minn. She was the third child, and second daughter, born to Glenn and Delaine (Helmer) Peterson. She grew up on the family farm in Beldenville, Wis. She attended Forestville School, a one-room schoolhouse, with her older siblings Barb and Steve and younger sister Kathy. Eventually, the Peterson kids would hop on the bus to attend River Falls Public Schools. Along the way, younger siblings Carolyn and Kevin joined the crew. Ginny would go on to graduate from River Falls High School in 1968.
Life got a little sweeter on Jan. 28, 1972, when Ginny married Terry Bishop, the love of her life. In short order, the adoring couple welcomed their daughters Stacy, Amanda, and Amy. In over 50 years of marriage, their family grew to include grandchildren and great grandchildren. Those kids were the beat of Ginny’s heart.
Ginny was known to be a hard worker. In her youth, she babysat many kids in the Beldenville area, worked as a carhop at the Helmer Rootbeer Stand, and did chores on the family farm. She especially loved caring for her horses. As an adult, she worked at Red Wing Shoe Company, Jostens, Riedell Skates, and Intec. She filled her spare time with a variety of different activities over the years, including sewing, snowmobiling, gardening, and houseplants, and helping with Girl Scouts and 4-H.
Ginny was a collector of many things, including Coca-Cola collectables, cigarette memorabilia, ruby red dishes, hats, and house plants. Many of her collected treasures came from bargain hunting at garage sales. She was delighted to find a good deal as a treat for a loved one. It was part of her nature to take care of others. She generously provided a welcoming environment for many of her girls’ and grandkids’ friends, nieces, and nephews. She was a fierce protector and advocate for those in need.
Ginny was forced to slow down in January 2000 after suffering an aneurysm which required major surgery. Though her memory was forever impacted, she carried on with the clear knowledge that God had told her it wasn’t yet her time to go. One way she coped with her memory issue was by collecting hats from people wherever she went. She said that stealing hats helped her remember where she’d been. To date, her collection stands at well over 500 hats.
Even through her last days, Ginny was known for her sass and sharp wit. She would always have a story to tell, even if you may have heard it before. Our world has dimmed without her in it.
Virginia will be dearly missed by her husband of 51.5 years, Terry Bishop, of Ellsworth; daughters, Stacy Bishop, Amanda Bishop, and Amy (James) Okrutny; grandchildren, Mikayla (Dylan) Tucker, Breanna Nelson, Joseph and Lillian Nauman; and great grandchildren, Addilyn, Landric, Jaelynn, and Azalea; sisters Kathryn (Richard) Rice, Barbara (Ernie) Punches; and brothers, Steve (Charlene) Peterson, and Kevin Peterson; aunts Edith Azure and Dorothy Muto; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Virginia was preceded in death by great granddaughter, Everly; parents, Glenn and Delaine Peterson; sister, Carolyn Peterson; grandparents, Lillian and Ernest Helmer and Adolph and Alma Peterson; Terry’s parents, Alvin and Blanche Bishop; aunts and uncles, cousins, and family in-law.
A Celebration of Life will be held 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 at Clyde’s Corner: W7409 WI-65, Beldenville, WI 54003. Interment will be at Beldenville Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the family’s discretion.
Services are entrusted to O’Connell Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Ellsworth, www.oconnellfuneralhomes.com, 715-273-4421