Michael Bishop


A Message from Michael Bishop

This regards the murder of our son Jamie, along with 31 other students or instructors, on the Virginia Tech campus on April 16, 2007:

Jamie's mother and I would like to thank the hundreds of you who have sent cards, letters, or condoling e-mails. Virtually all of you note that it's next to impossible to express your heartbreak in words (although some come eloquently close) and that mere words are not likely to assuage our pain.  However, we would like those who have written, or telephoned, to know that your grieving with us and for us does in fact offer some comfort.  We will never fully escape the ache that we now feel, but if we did, we would no longer qualify as fully human.  Meanwhile, it's impossible, at least for now, to reply to every welcome expression of sympathy because of their sheer overwhelming number and a myriad pressing practical concerns.

Jamie Bishop
A Self-Portrait

Right now we're also hurting for our daughter Stephanie Loftin and her husband Bridger and their two children, Annabel and Joel, and of course for our daughter-in-law, Jamie's widow, Stefanie Hofer, whom Jamie loved with all his heart.

Jamie is also survived by his grandmothers, Maxine Willis of Cherokee Village, Arkansas, and Jeri's mother, Minnie Ellis Whitaker of Columbus, Georgia, and by his uncle John Gregory Whitaker and Greg's wife Linda of Fort Valley, Georgia, and by their sons (Jamie's cousins), John, Jeff, and Kevin Whitaker.

Please let me note here that Jamie did digital covers for five of my books, not merely a story collection from Golden Gryphon Press and an essay collection for PS Publishing.  The other covers were for my poetry volume from Steve Pasechnik's Edgewood Press, Time Pieces, for an ElectricStory e-book version of No Enemy But Time, commissioned by Bob Kruger, and a forthcoming anthology of science fiction stories for PS Publishing coedited with Steven Utley, Passing for Human.  Further, he spoke German like a native, understood computers inside out, played drums in a basement band, bicycled and hiked, followed the fortunes of the Atlanta Braves as obsessively as his mother, grandmothers, and I did, and made friends everywhere.  He was a people lover from the get-go, and his energy levels put mine to shame.

I will miss going into Jamie and Steffi's home in Blacksburg and seeing new pieces of his art on their walls and also the ingenious pieces of furniture, unlike anyone else's, that he periodically created.  Nor will I ever forget him running shirtless, swift and elusive, on the toli (Indian stick ball) field at the University of Georgia and elsewhere, so replete with life that he seemed to all who met him forever immune to personal extinction.  In our minds, hearts, and imaginations, indeed, he tenaciously persists.

Abschied, mein Sohn. And Godspeed.

Michael Bishop

Contributions in Jamie's memory may be sent to the following:

The Jamie Bishop Scholarship Fund in Graphic Arts
Advancement Services
LaGrange College
601 Broad Street
LaGrange, GA 30240

Another scholarship fund has been established in Jamie Bishop's name for German majors at Virginia Tech. Contributions may be sent to:

Jamie Bishop Scholarship
Virginia Tech Foundation
University Development
902 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Michael wrote an opinion piece published in the Sunday, August 5, 2007 edition of the Washington Post concerning the establishment of a center for the study of international peace and crime prevention at Virginia Tech. Link to the article.

Michael and Jeri were interviewed for ABC's Good Morning America on August 21, 2007. View the video online.

Here's a link to Michael's poem, Jamie's Hair, published in the Spring 2008 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Michael was interviewed for an article by Donna Leinwand in the April 11, 2007 issue of USA Today. Here's a link to an online version of the interview. The website also includes a video interview.

Other Links: