Donovon Bishoff, 83, chemist, Living Classrooms volunteer

October 19, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Donovon Earl Bishoff, a retired chemist and longtime volunteer for the Lauraville neighborhood and the Living Classrooms Foundation, died Oct. 7 of a stroke at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Del. He was 83.

Mr. Bishoff, who had lived in Lauraville for 55 years, was on a fishing trip with a grandson when he died.

He was well known as a volunteer, not only in his Northeast Baltimore neighborhood but also with Living Classrooms, a nonprofit foundation that provides education and job training for disadvantaged children.

"He was a quiet man, but his generosity with his time and energy spoke volumes for him," said Marion Bowers, a neighbor and a member of the Lauraville Improvement Association, for which Mr. Bishoff directed the flea market at the annual September Country Fair.

"He was a role model for senior citizens in that he was absorbed in helping others. When you needed someone, he was always there," Ms. Bowers said.

He had spent 5,280 hours volunteering with the Baltimore Police Marine Unit and had been out helping patrol the harbor a few days before his death.

Mr. Bishoff's ruddy complexion came from his days aboard the Lady Maryland, the schooner owned by Living Classrooms where he talked to schoolchildren about the bay and ecology.

"He was always there giving of himself," said James Bond, president of Living Classrooms. "Don was interested in helping children, and he was one of our most dedicated volunteers. He loved the water and loved sharing his knowledge."

Chris Rowsom, Living Classrooms' fleet captain, said, "Besides helping with our education program and winter maintenance on the ships, Don was most famous for the cookies he would bring to share with the crew."

He was a member of Tall Cedars of Lebanon 45, Lafayette Lodge 111 and Bonnie Blink Daylight Lodge 1.

He was an industrial hygienist for the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 12 years before retiring in 1986. Earlier, he worked in Baltimore for FMC Corp., National Distillers Corp. and U.S. Industrial Corp.

Mr. Bishoff came to Baltimore in 1941 from Millville, W.Va., to work for Petroleum Chemical Co.

A native of Manheim, W.Va., he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va., in 1936. He began his career the same year at Standard Limestone Co. in West Virginia. During World War II, he served with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

In 1945, he married Evelyn Rockwell, who died in 1947.

Mr. Bishoff, a former member of Lauraville United Methodist Church, which has closed, willed his body to the Anatomy Board of Maryland.

Services were private.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, the former Vida Payne; two sons, Edward C. Bishoff of Parkville and Earl Donovan Bishoff of Lauraville; two daughters, Jane Roper and Anne Haupt, both of Baltimore; a brother, Donald Bishoff of Richmond, Va.; four sisters, Jessie Kelly of Arthursdale, W.Va., Mary Adams of Charlestown, W.Va., Mildred Woods of Bridgeport, W.Va., and Marie Felton of Deltaville, Va.; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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