A resident of the Bay Area for many years, Keith had been employed as a computer instructor for AT&T for the last five years. He was an accomplished teacher, chef, dancer, musician and singer. He was a generous and compassionate person who was deeply involved in the community.
Keith was a member of the First Congregational Church in Oakland and once served as Music Committee Chairman. Another of Keith's interests was buying, restoring and selling old reed pump organs.
Keith enjoyed square dancing and calling. He became a member of the Western Star Dancers in 1984 and served on their Board of Directors. He danced with both the Foggy City and Gold Rush Dancers. He was a coordinator and caller for the square dancing performance given at the Gay Games II. He also enjoyed performing with Jose Sarria's cabaret group.
In 1989, Keith joined the California Eagles Motorcycle Club and served as the club's Road Captain in 1990. He was elected President of the club for 1991. Keith served valiantly and well for as long as he could. As a token of the esteem in which he was held, the club has left the office of president unfilled for the remainder of his term.
Keith was born in Milton, Mass. on Aug. 1, 1950. Surrounded by family and friends, he passed away at his home in Oakland on Sept. 8 after battling AIDS-related cancer most of this year. He is survived by his mother and father, Marjorie and Al Bishop of Phoenix, Ariz.; his brother Richard, also of Phoenix; his beloved sister Elaine of Tucson, Ariz.; and dear friends Wade Kness and Terry Presley of San Francisco. Keith's memorial services were held at the First Congregational Church in Oakland on Sept. 10 with a reception afterwards on the patio of the S.F. Eagle. In accordance with Keith's wishes, his ashes were scattered in the mountains by the California Eagles and friends in October.
Memories of Gold Rush
by Joe Sobiesiak circa 1996
Time went on and the Team grew to be a "family". Some members left to go on to other things. KEITH BISHOP was a fun guy. He was a Leatherman. He was the first "Leatherman" I knew. Keith introduced me to motorcycles and the "Cal Eagles". I talked to him about getting a small bike to get around the city and he said he'd take me around when I was ready. So, on Memorial Day weekend of 1990, we went bike shopping. Next thing I knew he was driving home a bike that I bought. He was a handsome man and was a shy man. One memorable event was at a L.A. Rodeo breakfast. The waitress was bringing out our orders. She called out: "Who's the scrambled eggs? Who's the pancakes? Who's the Fruit-Cup?". As we all turned to Keith we saw his head sliding under the table. Keith was also the first "slut" of the group. I don't know why he got that title. Anyway, Keith was the first friend I lost to AIDS. He and I not only shared Gold Rush, but also the Cal Eagles Motorcycle Club. I'll never forget him and all the good times we've had. Keith, I love ya and miss ya!
by Monte Roush circa 1996
And speaking of KEITH BISHOP. I always thought he was a very sexy looking man! He liked to wear leather - and it looked good on him. When he wasn't practicing or performing with Gold Rush, Keith was usually involved with the Cal Eagles Motorcycle Club. He was the recording Secretary for them and it seemed like he was always going on a "run", or at a meeting, or helping out at a fund-raiser. It took a lot of his time, but he was more than willing to do it. Keith was also a pleasant man (Seems that virtually every Gold Rush member has that Quality!). He never bad-mouthed anyone. And, what a voice! It was so clean and pure. The first time I heard him sing was at the Gay Games in 1986. He was part of a Quartet for the Opening Ceremonies. Bill Whitefield was one of the other callers and when he and Bill got together on a number it was a "Show-Stopper". The two sounded wonderful together! The funniest times I recall with Keith were at rehearsals. Not only did he call for the Team, he also danced - and both parts! There were many times that he danced the "Man's" part in one number and the "Ladies" part in the next. I think this is where I first heard a dancer muttering "I'm a Girl, I'm a Girl" throughout a number. Keep smiling, Keith!