BISHOP, Geraldine “Gerrie”, age 76 of Brooksville passed Saturday, April 8, 2017 at her home. Born in Mt. Clemens, Michigan February 28, 1941, Gerrie graduated from Mt. Clemens High School in 1959. She married in 1960 and taught adult education classes for two years at night, under a special teaching certificate from the State of Michigan, while she was employed full-time at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, where she worked as a clerk/stenographer for six years. She later worked as a legal secretary/paralegal for 12 years for a private attorney in Michigan prior to moving to Florida in 1979.
After relocating to Florida, she returned to school in 1980, at the age of 39, receiving her A.A. degree from Pasco-Hernando Community College in 1981, with honors; her B.A. degree from the University of South Florida in 1983, Magna cum Laude; and her law degree in 1986 from the University of Florida. In 2013 she was honored by Pasco-Hernando Community College with the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award.
After passing the Bar in 1986, she accepted employment with the State of Florida, and was assigned as the law clerk/staff attorney for Hernando County as one of the original trial court law clerks in a state-wide pilot program, working closely with the judges, members of the Bar, and the clerk of court.
Very active in the Hernando County Bar Association, she served as President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, as well as working on several committees, including the Executive Committee. She spearheaded the Hernando County Bar’s Law Week activities for several years, created the Ask-a-Lawyer program, and served as Executive Director of that organization, as well as the Editor of the Bar’s monthly newsletter, for many years. In 2004 she was presented an award as Outstanding Member of the Year by the Hernando County Bar Association. She was also one of the attorneys who helped create the Citrus-Hernando Inn of Court, a professional, legal organization organized to improve ethics and professionalism, in 1999; and served as the Administrator of that organization for four years. In 2010 she was honored with the “Over the Bar” Award by the Women’s Bar of Citrus and Hernando.
She was the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Supervised Visitation Center of Hernando County from its creation in 2000 until her appointment as General Magistrate in 2004; and she helped the initial plans to establish several other programs within Hernando County, including Domestic Violence Court, Drug Court and the Family Law Advisory Group. She was also an active supporter of the Children’s Advocacy Center, an agency established to assist child victims involved in criminal and dependency actions in the judicial system. A participant in several major innovative programs within the judicial/court system, she served on numerous committees representing the judiciary in Hernando County. She was a member of the Hernando County Bar Association, The Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, the Citrus-Hernando Inn of Court, and several other professional organizations, as well as being a former member of the Florida Trial Court Staff Attorney Association.
An active member of the Kiwanis Club of Brooksville since 2003, Gerrie served as Club Secretary for three years, on the Board of Directors since 2008, and was Club President in the 2015/2016 year. She also served as the Division Secretary and Newsletter Editor for Division 8 of the Kiwanis District, which includes ten clubs in the central Florida area.
In 2004 Gerrie was appointed to the newly created position of General Magistrate in Hernando County, and was assigned to conduct hearings to help the judges relieve their overcrowded dockets. In that capacity, she primarily heard dependency and family law cases; but she also conducted probate and civil hearings for the judges regarding discovery and procedural matters and case management, to help them move the cases through the system more expeditiously.
A widow, Gerrie’s husband, Clarence (Boyd) Bishop, passed away in 2002. Her daughter, Linda Bishop Tew, who was a Senior Corrections Probate Officer in Pasco County, passed away in 2011. She also has two adult step-children, Clarence Bishop in California and Luanne Kelly in Virginia, as well as several step-grandchildren and step-great grandchildren.
Survivors include two half-brothers, Larry Sonntag and John Sonntag, of Michigan; and two half-sisters, Janice Warner and Karen of Michigan, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a sister, Gloria Campau, a brother, Glenn Burk, and step-brothers Raymond, Roy and Clarence Sonntag in Michigan, and step-sisters, Esther Duhr in California and Eldine Luchtman in Florida.
Visitation for friends will be from 5:00-7:00pm, Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at the Merritt Funeral Home, Brooksville Chapel. Funeral Services will be held 11:00am Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the Faith Presbyterian Church, Brooksville, with Pastor Dave Franklin officiating. Burial will follow at the Brooksville Cemetery near her husband and daughter.
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