James Bishop, owner of store

James S. Bishop
James S. Bishop
Posted: September 23, 2016

James S. Bishop, 73, of Germantown, retired owner of the former Main Line furniture store O'Neill & Bishop, died off Long Beach Township, N.J., on Sunday, Sept. 18, in what authorities reported as a drowning.

Mr. Bishop had left his home on Long Beach Island about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. An unidentified surfer, in a 911 call at 5:39 p.m., reported pulling the body from the ocean, a spokesman for the Ocean County prosecutor stated.

Mr. Bishop was pronounced dead at Southern Ocean Medical Center at 6:35 p.m. Sunday, the spokesman said. A medical examiner later ruled the death as a drowning, he said.

Born in Phoenixville, Mr. Bishop graduated from Conestoga High School after studying in Reading, England, for his junior year.

He earned a bachelor's in history in 1965 at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., where he crewed and was a member of the fraternity St. Anthony Hall, his wife, Margaret, said.

During the Vietnam War, Mr. Bishop served as a deck officer on the aircraft carrier Ticonderoga while it was engaged in combat there.

After beginning his career in 1969 as a showroom manager in Center City for Baker Furniture of Grand Rapids, Mich., Mr. Bishop in 1973 joined his family firm, O'Neill & Bishop Furniture Co., at its Suburban Square location in Ardmore.

Mr. Bishop shared ownership with his father, Francis. The family moved the firm to Haverford, where James Bishop closed it in the mid-1990s.

Mr. Bishop was a former president of the Suburban Square Business Association. His wife said that when he was president of the Ardmore Rotary Club, he inducted its first women members.

Mr. Bishop was a member of the vestry in the early 1990s at the Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd in East Falls.

He retired in 2016 after 10 years as board secretary at Wyck, the historic house, garden, and farm in Germantown, his wife said. And in 2014, he ended a 10-year run as a board member for the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Germantown.

Mr. Bishop was a leader of the St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia and, for a time, a trustee of its foundation.

From the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, he was its treasurer, said John F. McDonald Jr., its president from 1990 to 2000.

"He was a gentle and humble man," McDonald said. "He was the soul of the society" and its scholarship efforts.

Besides his wife, whom he married in 1970, Mr. Bishop is survived by son William, two sisters, and two grandchildren.

Services are pending.

Condolences and donations may be sent to the St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia, 215 S. 16th St., Philadelphia 19102.

wnaedele@phillynews.com

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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