Family and friends celebrated the extraordinary life of Ronald Edward Bishop on June 22, with a spirited homegoing service. The multitalented, internationally known musician passed away on April 11, at the age of 70.
Considered a musical prodigy, Ronald was accomplished in playing the piano, clarinet and percussion as well as adept at creating, producing and directing theatrical shows. His many gifts allowed him to perform at the highest levels on spiritual and secular stages around the world.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Ronald was born on June 22, 1950 to Luvertia and Freddie Bishop. His musical anointing was apparent at a young age when his father placed his old clarinet in Ronald’s hands. The child quickly mastered the instrument and went on to play in Detroit’s All-City Band and Orchestra.
Ronald’s interests extended to piano and drums and his father enrolled him in classes to enhance his skills. He first attended piano lessons at Grinnell’s Department Store and was instructed in piano and drums at Detroit Music Settlement School. Ronald graduated from Pershing High School in Detroit, attended Indiana University to study piano and percussion, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performing Arts from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
His professional career blossomed in Boston where he performed in major east coast cities. Also, he traveled the Midwest as a member of the Charles Greene Group. In addition, Ronald toured several countries in Europe and Asia showcasing his talents alongside notable entertainers such as Della Reese, Siegfried and Roy, Peabo Bryson, The O’Jays and Barbara Morrison. Some of the plays that he directed featured the life stories of actor Paul Robeson, singer Billie “Lady Day” Holiday, and Nat Love, a Black cowboy known as Deadwood Dick.
Ronald enjoyed a strong relationship with the Lord and shared his gifts with a range of ministries including Advent Fellowship in Compton, Walker Temple AME Church in Los Angeles and Harbor Community Church in Huntington Beach. For more than 35 years, Ronald served as minister of music at Los Angeles Third Church for Spiritual Living. His compassion for others was illustrated by his work with the California Institute for Women as a piano instructor and director of the Inmate Band.
The memory of Ronald Edward Bishop will be cherished by his loved ones. They include his wife, Linda; daughter, Tracie (Mark) Day; son, Seth; stepdaughter, Angie (Nate) Primm; brother, Michael; three grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and a host of relatives and friends.