Governor, Lions honor Bishop

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—Tilman Bishop greets Shari Zen and her husband, John, the deputy Grand Junction police chief, before a Grand Junction Lions Club luncheon for Bishop at Two Rivers Convention Center on Tuesday. An audience of more than 250 later saw the Lions and University of Colorado President Bruce Benson present Bishop a proclamation from Gov. John Hickenlooper, who declared Tuesday to be Tilman “Tillie” Bishop Day.

Tilman Bishop has lived up to his own words: “Don’t dream your dreams — live them.”

More than 250 members of the community gave a standing ovation Tuesday afternoon as the Grand Junction Lions Club and University of Colorado President Bruce Benson presented Bishop with a proclamation from Gov. John Hickenlooper, who declared Tuesday to be Tilman “Tillie” Bishop Day.

“Whereas: Bishop is an icon, respected by local and national leaders for his honesty and wisdom,” the governor listed as one of the many reasons to pay tribute to the man who is the longest serving state senator from the Western Slope.

“He is a Western Slope advocate machine,” said Stephen Ludwig, a fellow member of the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado, adding that Bishop often reminded him that “there is life in Colorado on the other side of the mountains.”

Tilman has served as a regent for the university since 2006.

He served four years in the Colorado House of Representatives and 24 years in the state Senate.

Bishop, a Republican, introduced 736 bills during his tenure, of which 436 were signed into law. His service as a state lawmaker ended in 1998 because of term limits.

Bishop has been an integral part in continuing to advance the university’s educational and financial goals, especially in terms of explaining legislation that affects the school’s interests, Benson said.

Benson went on to list a number of things the school is doing, including improving efficiency, reducing bureaucracy and increasing fundraising and building business partnerships, to ensure a viable future for the school.

The Lions Club honored Bishop by mentioning his 48-year membership, his recognition as Lion of the Year in 1998, and his remarkable contribution of more than $53,000 in raffle ticket sales for the club.

In return, Bishop was presented with a check for $1,000 from the club, which will be donated to a charity of his choice.

Bishop said the attention was “very humbling.” He thanked his wife, Pat, for her continued support after 59 years of marriage.

“I’m not going to be done anytime soon,” he said, adding there were a number of projects he’d like to continue working on, “But, since it’s my day, and if I could, I’d give all of you the rest of the day off.”


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