On Wednesday evening, Oct. 3, 2012, in the presence of his wife Nancy and daughter Sharon Berry, Don Bish was tenderly called home by his savior Jesus Christ after a brief illness. Don was a native New Mexican, born in Las Vegas on Jan. 3, 1926, to Earl and Minnie Bish. He was the fourth of five children, Doris, Leroy, Marie, and Paul. He was drafted into the United States Army before completing high school and served in the Pacific Theater until the end of World War II.
After his discharge Don returned to Las Vegas and enrolled in Highlands University. He married Joy Rutherford and they had a son, Daniel, shortly before Joy died of cancer. In the summer of 1950, he met Nancy Osborn, who was attending summer school at Highlands, and they were married on Nov. 26. 1950. In 1951, their daughter Sharon Elizabeth was born. Don and Nancy were married for almost 62 years.
Don’s friendly nature and outgoing personality enabled him to achieve a very successful sales career, primarily in wholesale auto parts for local stores and national companies. During his extended service with the Arthur Fulmer Co., Don was their national sales leader for several years. After moving to Odessa, Texas, in 1956, Don’s territory extended from Del Rio to Lubbock, and from Abilene to El Paso, and all the West Texas towns in between. He didn’t know it at the time, but one of his customers in Alpine would later become the father-in-law of Don’s grandson Kevin Berry.
As they raised their family in Odessa, Don and Nancy became active members of First Baptist Church where Don was one of the first men to teach in their Sunday school’s pre-school department. He was active in the church’s hospital visitation ministry, and he also organized and then served as adult leader of the church’s Boy Scout troop. His experiences growing up in the mountains of northern New Mexico helped the troop earn many honors and awards.
Don was always a faithful servant of his Lord and a witness of his salvation. He was ordained as a deacon in Odessa several years before he and Nancy retired and relocated to Roswell in 1997 to be near their daughter and her family. They joined First Baptist Church and continued their active church life serving in various ministries and programs whenever possible.
Don is survived by his loving wife Nancy; his daughter Sharon and her husband Kenneth Berry; his son Daniel and wife Maureen, of Santa Fe; and Don’s younger brother Paul and wife Geneva, of Albuquerque. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Kevin and Sarah Berry and their children, Elizabeth, Emma and Kaleb, of Roswell; D’Shan Berry, of Roswell, Lauren and Dillon Blakley and their children, Bryson and Aaron of Midland, Texas; Sara Jean Bish of Los Angeles, Joy and Mike Gorey and their children, Madeline and Caleb, of Mission Viejo, Calif., Christina and Brent Peterman and their daughter Nicole, of Bellvue, Wash., and Cody Bish, of Portland, Ore. In addition, Don is survived by a loving former daughter-in-law, Judy and Bob Hipp, of Irvine, Calif.
On Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, at 11 a.m., a short graveside service will be held at South Park Cemetery. Immediately following this service, at approximately 11:30 a.m., there will be a celebration and memorial at First Baptist Church.
Pallbearers will be Kevin Berry, Dillon Blakley, David Henry, Duane Henry, Ron Henry, Steve Osborn, Larry Plunkett and Barry Walker. Honorary pallbearers will be Lloyd Stone, Ray Sherman, Charles Butler, Kenny Zuber, Darwin Nelson, Joe Tai, and the deacons of First Baptist Church.
Donations in Don’s memory may be directed to New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home, Box 629, Portales, NM, or the Genesis Fund of the First Baptist Church of Roswell.
Friends may offer their condolences online at lagronefuneralchapels.com.
Services are under the direction of LaGrone Funeral Home.