Charles “Chuck” J. Kilpatrick, a Bishop treasure, is gone…

“Mr. Bishop,” Chuck Kilpatrick, succumbs to COVID-19. His loss is a huge blow to the community of Bishop and Inyo County.

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.”

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24 Responses to Charles “Chuck” J. Kilpatrick, a Bishop treasure, is gone…

  1. Sara Conboy April 15, 2021 at 12:52 pm #

    I am so saddened to read of the loss of Chuck. I met him when my husband and I walked into the Bishop Chamber of Commerce in October of 2017. I asked him if he might be able to help me remember the exact location of the long-gone Sierra Motel on Main Street. My grandparents owned the motel in the 50’s and 60’s and my grandfather was a well-known fisherman and businessman in those days but he died in 1968 so I didn’t expect anyone to remember. But, I was in luck that day because Chuck had a wealth of, not just information, but genuine interest and enthusiasm! We corresponded from that day on until I realized that he hadn’t responded to the last article I sent him, which was not like Chuck! I went online yesterday and was shocked to hear of his passing. I send my sincere condolences to his family and friends. He was a wonderful man! Sara Button Conboy

  2. Kristen Brown January 12, 2021 at 7:44 am #

    What a glorious greeting in Heaven Chuck must have had with Kim. Sending thoughts and prayers to sweet Mary Mae, Tammy and Dave, Cambria, Ryan, Katlyn and their families. His legacy will live on through you all. Miss you always Chuck.

  3. Sue lofson January 7, 2021 at 11:39 am #

    Words cannot express what a wonderful friend Chuck has been to me and my family since we first met in 1965 when he became our State Farm agent. We had just moved to Bishop and were welcomed royally by him. We became friends when I joined Sweet Adelines and shared our love of barbershop music. Such wonderful memories and our friendship has continued to this day. My love and prayers go out to Mary Mae, Tammy and the rest of the family. God be with you as you make an adjustment in your lives – remember all the good times. Love you always, Sue Olofson

  4. Barbara Laughon January 5, 2021 at 1:36 pm #

    A true gem of a man, a treasure this community was fortunate to call its own, and the one person I’ve always felt should be honored by having his surname on a street sign, perhaps by the chamber, because as my husband noted, all great hospitality and warmth stemmed from and led back to Chuck Kilpatrick. Much love to Mary Mae, Tammy and Dave, and Chuck’s extended family.

  5. Lisa Apted January 4, 2021 at 12:57 pm #

    Dear Mary mae and Tammy. So sorry to hear about Chuck, we will be miss him. Know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers. Rest in peace chuck.
    Mike & Lisa Apted

  6. Lisa DePasquale January 3, 2021 at 7:27 pm #

    My Uncle Chuck brought a smile and a laugh to our family gatherings in New Jersey ever since I was a small child. He always shared stories and Bishop facts we us and even recently exchanged Mustang car talk with my husband and I. The world has lost a very special person. There are no words to console the loss I know that Mary Mae, Tammy and Family are feeling. Rest In Peace Uncle Chuck.

  7. Elizabeth Glazner January 3, 2021 at 10:53 am #

    Wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. But it seems an opportunity was missed to affirm the very real threat of covid-19. Omitting cause of death here does not serve the public good. R.I.P. Mr. Kilpatrick, and condolences to all who mourn him.

  8. Elaine Walker Scott January 3, 2021 at 10:49 am #

    Chuck was one of my father Richard Walker’s, closest friends, and he made sure that all our Insurance Policies were purchased through Chuck until his own death.

  9. Jenni Jones January 3, 2021 at 6:39 am #

    Thoughts and prayers to Mary Mae & Tammy. I remember Chuck as a very sweet man when I was swimming on swim team with Tammy. RIP, Chuck.

  10. Karan Ditty January 2, 2021 at 10:33 pm #

    Chuck was the most decent caring human being & I was truly blessed to know him. Especially in sad, trying times, when my dearest friend Kim, was tragically taken in a car accident 15 miles from her home. Even though he was mourning the loss of his oldest daughter, he went above & then some to bring comfort to myself & many others. He always had a kind word, a hug, a joke, a story, for anyone who needed comfort & a caring shoulder to lean on Bishop is gonna be forever changed by his absence. It will be hard to not see that smile from across the room, at every community function, schools etc. Heaven definately got the best . I’ll miss him dearly. My love, thoughts & prayers go out to, Mary Mae, Tammy, & her children . May God give you the comfort & peace, knowing that moved on to a better place & is free. God bless you all.

  11. Dee January 2, 2021 at 8:42 pm #

    Condolences to his wife and Tammy K.
    A huge tremendous loss for our community.
    What a humble sweet man, always helping others, helping the community.
    He was an inspiration for anyone who chose to volunteer and help others.
    Chuck really was Mr. Bishop. Obviously Chuck will not be forgotten, but I hope a City of Bishop landmark of some sort gets named or renamed in his honor, he deserves recognition in perpetuity in some manner, somehow in the City of Bishop.
    Rest in peace

  12. Rosie Dominguez January 2, 2021 at 5:42 pm #

    Another wonderful person gone from this valley. What can I say that isn’t already been said and will be again. My prayers to you Mary and Tammy. God bless you and your family. RIP Chuck.

  13. Cora Sue Gregory January 2, 2021 at 4:24 pm #

    Although Chuck was a couple of years ahead of me in high school, we’ve maintained an email friendship over the past several years. I was so sad to hear of “blue eyes” passing. My thoughts and prayers for comfort are with Mary Mae and their family. Chuck will be sorely missed by many many folks! Rest well, faithful servant.

  14. lenny chinzi January 2, 2021 at 4:00 pm #

    How do you replace the irreplaceable? Chuck was a gift from God to the community of Bishop. In reference to the comments above, It is not possible to overstate the kindness and positive attitude of Chuck Kilpatrick. I knew him, and I am a better man for it. Whenever I asked Chuck a question on trying to make something happen, he was always positive with a can do attitude. I remember speaking with Chuck about the destruction derby. One year I was setting up an entrance for the California rodeo queen at the destruction derby. Chuck as always was setting up the events for the rodeo queen. I mentioned I needed to find someone to sing the national anthem. He volunteered. I asked him “you sing too?” He of course downplayed his singing ability, always humble and modest. I can tell you I am glad I accepted and tell you in the affirmative, yes he can sing. Chuck you were a bright star in the eastern sierra and I am blessed that I knew you. Have a blast in heaven my friend, see you soon.

  15. Erick Schat jr. January 2, 2021 at 2:29 pm #

    I had numerous interactions with Chuck and he was always on a mission to help others and be the cheerleader of Bishop. I quickly found myself having great admiration for him. He made it a point to help others and never made it about himself. He truly embodied the small town spirit and made our little community that much better.

    • James Baetge January 2, 2021 at 5:55 pm #

      Chuck was a classmate of my late Father Howard Baetge. In June 2004, during my Father’s last week. He and Mary Mae were in Reno the whole week and came every day to the VA to visit and take me to lunch. I am forever thankful for their generosity and friendship to my Father. I was very impressed of how great a person he was.
      James (Jimmy) Baetge

      • Kymberlee January 3, 2021 at 9:27 am #

        This is so lovely to hear. I live in the house next to where your dad lived. I still think of Howard and miss him. I have fond memories of him. I feel the same about Chuck. I didn’t know him well but by god he was truly a leader of this great community. Mr. Bishop indeed.

  16. Susan Holgate January 2, 2021 at 12:43 pm #

    Mary Mae, we are so sad to hear of Chuck’s passing. Please know you are in our hearts these days especially. Harry and Susan Holgate

  17. Robbin Cromer-Tyler January 2, 2021 at 11:07 am #

    I am so saddened by his loss to the community and his support of Mary Mae. I pray for comfort for the family

  18. Kathleen Wirth Carmical January 2, 2021 at 10:32 am #

    Chuck touched so many people in our community, now he touches those of our community that have gone on before us. My thoughts and prayers are with Mary Mae and Tammy.

  19. Ted Stec January 2, 2021 at 9:43 am #

    Dawn and I are terribly sad to hear about Chuck passing. We are so grateful, however, to have met him. Chuck was one of the first leaders we met after moving to Bishop. He was kind, welcoming, funny, and always helpful. RIP Chuck, we’ll miss you. T & D Stec.

  20. Charles O. Jones January 2, 2021 at 8:38 am #

    Rest in peace Mr. Kilpatrick

  21. john hodgson January 2, 2021 at 8:16 am #

    In my years as a resident of Bishop (1970’s-1980’s) and being a member of the Ambassador club of the Chamber, I had many interactions with Chuck. Always the positive happy representative of the chamber his attitude rubbed of on many of us, when we felt that we were having a difficult time trying to motivate some of the business people in town. Chuck just keep up the positive talk about our wonderful city and its residents. He was truly selfless. I am a better person for knowing this wonderful man. My thoughts and prayers to Mary. You were married to a jewel!

  22. AllieX January 2, 2021 at 2:32 am #

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr.Kilpatrick, but I sure wish I had based one this tribute. Condolences to his family all those who missing him now and forever. Rest in peace sir.


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