Helen (Fortney) Bishop, age 95, passed away on Sunday, January 17, 2016; at her daughter’s home in El Dorado Springs, Missouri, where she had been residing the past five years. Helen was born July 19, 1920, to Henry and Bessie (Messick) Fortney. She grew up on a farm north of Filley, Missouri, with seven brothers and sisters and attended Cherry Valley School through the eighth grade.
Helen married Paul Bishop on September 11, 1936, and they were blessed with three sons and a daughter. Their eldest son, Ronnie Paul, died in a truck accident in 1988.
In spite of little formal education, Helen was able to accomplish much because of her fierce determination. If something needed to be done she had the drive and confidence to figure out how to do anything she wanted to do. She was skilled at sewing, painting, and wallpapering, and enjoyed carpentry. She earned her GED when she was seventy-four years old. She remodeled her own house when she was eighty years old with the help of her eighty-five year old brother. Many times she stayed up all night to help her children with newborn babies, dogs, and cattle.
God and family were her deepest passions. She was a member of the Church of Christ, and true to her nature, she spent her whole life trying to teach the good news of the gospel to everyone with whom she came in contact. With her Bible in hand, she travelled to several states, including New York City, as well as Scotland and Jamaica to teach the word of God. Because of her Bible knowledge and enthusiasm she was invited to be a guest speaker at Pepperdine, Harding, and Abilene Christian Universities, in addition to many other lectureships around the country.
Helen loved being with her family and was always in the stands cheering for her children and grandchildren when they played sports. She learned to play volleyball later in life and played until she was in her 70’s. Her house was always a hub of activity and she could cook up a Sunday dinner in record time.
The El Dorado Picnic was her favorite time of year. She could always be found at her spot on the rock wall where she enjoyed corn dogs and socializing. She only missed one Picnic in her ninety-five years.
Helen is survived by her children, Gary (Madelyn) of Nevada, Missouri, and Bill (Carolyn) and Sue (Ted) Thoreson of El Dorado Springs; one sister, Betty (Toy) Kelly of Wichita, Kansas; grandchildren Tate Thoreson, Tannen Gurley, Ty Moran, Tedi Payne, Brooke Crooks, Bo Bishop, Kai Bishop, Craig Johnson, Kristy Young, along with sixteen great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul; son, Ronnie Paul; brothers Glen, Carl, and Ray;and sisters, Murrel Headley, Erma Garrett, and Fern Choate.