The year 2020 has been one of constant challenges and losses. The latest and hopefully the last is the loss of Bishop resident, Charles “Chuck” J. Kilpatrick, who died Wednesday, Dec. 30, after a battling COVID-19. Kilpatrick was a man who was not just well-known, he was admired and adored by almost everyone that ever had the pleasure of meeting or working with him. The Inyo Register newspaper, on whose pages his name and photo often graced, called him a “small town hero.” He was of course that and much more. The Inyo Register chronicled many of his accomplishments and service to the community over many years.
Bishop has likely never had, or ever will have again, a goodwill ambassador the likes of Chuck Kilpatrick. He was a one-man Booster Club, the Head Cheerleader of all the wonderful and great things about our Bishop community and Inyo County. He was kind. He was generous. He always seemed to be smiling or laughing. He was energetic and enthusiastic. He was a walking, talking historian of all things Bishop-related with an amazing memory of names, places, and events from years past.
Chuck is truly a man who will be seriously missed by many of us locally, as well as thousands of visitors to the area with whom he came into contact through the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, along with his involvement in almost every aspect of Bishop life through his decades of volunteer service.
The list of events and activities that Chuck was involved in—and often initiated—is long. Two come instantly to mind: Anything to do with the Bishop Chamber of Commerce. He relentlessly promoted our local businesses and activities. And the California High School Rodeo Association. He was often referred to as both “Mr. Bishop” and the “King of Rodeo Queens,” the latter of which he was enormously proud. He truly enjoyed being the one chosen as the official escort of the young rodeo queens while they were in Bishop.
After Chuck met and fell in love with his wife, Mary Mae, he finished a stint in the military, then they moved to Bishop where Chuck sold insurance for 38 years, and Mary Mae taught school, raised their family, and living out their lives. After their retirements, they both became exemplars of how you serve your community as volunteers…and boy, have they ever! And our world is a better place for it.
There is much more to Chuck Kilpatrick’s life and accomplishments that will be forthcoming over the next few days. So much of Chuck’s life was dedicated to promoting goodwill for the Bishop Area.
Sierra Wave would like to ask that you, as you visit our website, leave a kind word and a memory of your own personal experience with this wonderful man for whom many of us held great affection and admiration. His loss is a tremendous blow to our community and certainly isn’t going the help the already dismal reputation of the year 2020. Rest in Peace, “Mr. Bishop.”