90 years and counting: Vernon Bishop celebrates a life in Walton County

vernon bishop
Jennie McKeon | The Sun
Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 10:34 AM.

Vernon Bishop celebrated his 90th birthday at South Walton Baptist on the Bay April 6 with friends and family. The only problem was that he was so busy greeting everyone that he missed some of the party.

"I couldn't sit down," Bishop said. "I didn't even get the chance to eat anything until later in the party. But it was wonderful. If you missed it, you missed a good party."

Some of Bishop's popularity is because of the fact he has always been an active member of his community. Born and raised in Walton County , Bishop served in World War II, was a business owner, director of South Walton Mosquito Control District, chairman of the board for South Walton Fire District as well as an active member in his church and the local Lion's Club during his 90 years.

Inside Bishop's house, your eyes immediately meet balloons and a stack of birthday cards. A few of his gifts still remain on the kitchen counter — framed photographs of Bishop during his Army days and one of him in front of his grocery store, VR Bishop's Grocery Store.

Inside his den, Bishop sits down to start his story. An old Western is on the television and Rocky, Bishop's rescue dog, is asleep on the floor. A few more birthday balloons are tied to the arm of a chair, and a Walton Sun mug sits on an end table holding pencils.

"I've seen a lot of history in Walton County ," Bishop said. "It's grown so much since I was a boy."

During Bishop's early years, kids were few and far between. You had to make your own play, he said. At school, one teacher taught eight different grades and if you wanted something, you had to order it from Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward. If Bishop wanted to go fishing, he fashioned a fishing rod out of found objects.

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