Missing Jane Bishop

Michael Bishop, Briana Bishop, Jane Bishop Service Award Recipient Leslie Cranford, James Bishop and Michael Bishop all stop for a photo following the Pelham High School football banquet. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Speaking at the Pelham High School football banquet before the presentation of an award in his late wife’s honor, James Bishop said, “Jane was a foot washer. Everyone else in our family has been in the public eye-except Jane. Jane was behind the scenes keeping our lives on course. Jane was gravity.”

Jane Bishop was an integral part of the Pelham High School football family who worked in the athletic office. She did what needed to be done without fanfare. Through the spring, summer and this football season since Jane Bishop’s death last March, when we realized some detail had been overlooked, someone would say quietly, “Jane Bishop probably took care of that before.”

When Bishop saw a task that needed doing — no matter how unglamorous — she did it. When she saw someone who needed help, she helped, and when she saw someone in need, Bishop gave.

A couple of Christmases ago, Bishop asked her husband and three children to spend part of Christmas Day serving dinner at Children’s Hospital.

“My mom said that our family was blessed and we needed to do for others. She said they needed folks to serve dinner at Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day,” Bishop’s daughter, Briana, said. “She signed us up. We spent time with amazing families, and we remembered what Christmas was really about.”

Had Bishop tried to make a list of her service to others, I’m not sure that she could have. The Jane Bishop Service Award reads, “Jane was a selfless individual who gave daily to help make everyone’s day brighter. She worked tirelessly behind the scenes serving others, always with a smile.”

This award will be presented annually to an individual who serves as Bishop served.

The first Jane Bishop Service Award went to PHS parent and Valley Intermediate School teacher Leslie Cranford.

“Jane mothered the coaches and the players. File cabinets don’t have as much information as Jane did,” Cranford said. “She loved our kids. I have never known anyone as competent, kind and considerate. I am honored to receive this award, but I don’t begin to compare with Jane.”

On Saturday, Dec. 17, Bishop’s daughter, Briana, and my daughter, Georgia, will graduate from the University of Alabama. We’ll be missing Jane Bishop that day, but I believe that Bishop will be observing this dream come true. The spirit of Jane Bishop will surround us — like gravity.


Connie Nolen can be reached by email at CNolen@Shelbyed.k12.al.us.