Long-time publisher of the Gonzales Weekly passes away

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Arlene Epstein Bishop

Arlene Epstein Bishop

June 7, 1935 – April 20, 2017

Arlene Epstein Bishop, 81, passed away at her home in St. Amant, LA, on Thursday, April 20. She was born in Baton Rouge, LA, on June 7, 1935, and lived in Ascension Parish for most of her life. As a young girl, she spent several summers and her Junior year of high school in Nashville, TN, with her grandmother, Anna Fine. After graduating from Gonzales High School in 1954, she matriculated at SLI (which is now ULL), where she earned her R.N. with a B.S. Arlene married Crawford Alexander Bishop on October 6, 1956. After completing nursing school in 1958, she joined Crawford in Tacoma, WA, where he was stationed in the army. Their oldest son, Morrie Alec Bishop, was born there a few months prior to Crawford’s discharge.

When they moved back to St. Amant, Crawford and Arlene opened Bishop’s General Merchandise and Arlene’s Icehouse. Crawford was also working at the Bank of Gonzales and selling insurance, while Arlene took care of Morrie and Myer Epstein Bishop; and, was a night nurse at several different hospitals and nursing homes in Baton Rouge and Gonzales. She loved children and the elderly – and never considered herself over 39, until the day she died.

The year of 1963 brought their third child Alana Kay Bishop, and a new home. By this time, they had closed the store and were focused on their children, the Bank of Gonzales, and nursing (in that order). In 1969, Crawford and Arlene decided to buy The Gonzales Weekly newspaper. Arlene immediately stopped night-nursing, and started nursing the newspaper. She was the absolute best sales-person; and, made The Gonzales Weekly and the Community Mirror the award-winning newspapers that they were. She enjoyed talking to people on the phone and in person. She was the happiest when she was making sales. 

With Arlene running the newspaper and Crawford across the street as President and Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Gonzales, the couple knew no limits. They were dedicated spouses, parents, community leaders and citizens. They taught their children, “You don’t have to do what you like, just like what you do!”

They were partners in every venture. From supporting Crawford as the President of the Louisiana Bankers Association, and King at the Washington Mardi Gras Ball, Arlene was the “hostess with the mostest”. She loved entertaining and giving gifts. She was truly a generous person. She and Crawford were always the first on the dance floor at every party; and, they were the life of the party.

Crawford passed away on December 20, 2000; and, took a part of Arlene with him. But, as much as she missed him, she continued to live. She loved traveling, eating out and going to movies. Arlene suffered a stroke on September 4, 2001, which she bounced back from very quickly. And, the good life continued.

On January 27, 2005, Arlene suffered a physically debilitating stroke in Houston while caring for Myer, who was scheduled to start radiation for cancer at MD Anderson. Arlene’s mind was sharp until the day she died; but, never walked again. Myer passed away on April 10, 2005. Another awful blow! But, Arlene continued to live, and to be a “trouper” for the last 12 years. Although she was confined to the bed at home, Morrie and sometimes Alana would take her out at least once a week. She still enjoyed eating out; and, she was still talking about taking trips.

Arlene had a great life; and, she made sure that her husband, children, and everyone around her enjoyed life as well. Her motto was “don’t worry, be happy!”.

She was preceded in death by her great-grandparents, Hyman Myer Epstein, Rachel Rosafy Epstein, Israel Shuer, Kunya Dworin Shuer, Joseph Kaplan, Pearl Etta Chelmer Kaplan, Wolf Fine, Hannah Horwitz Fine; grandparents: Rev. Solomon Epstein, Anna Victoria Shuer Epstein, Julius David Kaplan; and, Anna Fine Kaplan; father, Myer Epstein, M.D.; and, mother, Etta Pearl Kaplan Epstein; husband, Crawford Alexander Bishop; son, Myer Epstein Bishop; brother, Jerome David Epstein, M.D; brother-in- laws, Robert Freneaux; and, John P. Casey; nephew, Andy Mitchell Kaplan; niece, Michelle Epstein. She is survived by her son, Morrie Alec Bishop; daughter and son-in- law, Alana Kay Bishop Monaghan and James Leonard Hugh Monaghan, Jr.; step grandchildren, Tierney Sandra Monaghan and James “Trey” Leonard Hugh Monaghan, III; sister, Deanna Kaplan Freneaux; sister-in- laws Barbara Marchand Epstein, Alida Bishop Casey; and, Mittie Bishop Sheets and husband James Ronald Sheets; Neices and nephews: Catherine Alexis Casey, Caren Marie Casey Kavanaugh and husband Mark Kavanaugh; Candance Ann Casey Carter and husband Haley Marcus Carter; John Patrick Casey and wife Billy Katherine Cooper Casey; Stephen Paul Sheets and wife Michelle Mayeaux Sheets; Michael Bradley Sheets and wife Tracy Watson Sheets; Kyle David Sheets and wife Leslie Bryant Sheets; Glenn Nelson Epstein and wife Marguerite Holdowiez Williams Epstein; Karla Sue Epstein; David Myer Epstein and wife Debbie Epstein; Valerie June Kaplan; Pall-bearers: Stephen Paul Sheets, Michael Bradley Sheets, Kyle David Sheets, John Patrick Casey, Sr., Stephen Blake Sheets; and Trey Monaghan.

Arlene had become very close to her caregivers; and, Morrie and Alana would like to thank Alice Payton, who was with Arlene for 12 years and was like a sister; Sharon Dunbar, who shared her spirituality; and, Jean Nelson for her kindness and patience.

If you would like to make a lasting contribution to Arlene’s memory, please make a donation to the Crawford, Arlene and Myer Bishop Scholarship Fund through this website https://www.gnof.org/give-now/; or, mail to the Greater New Orleans Foundation, 919 St. Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, specifying this fund.

A Celebration of Arlene’s life will be held on June 7, 2017, (her 39th birthday) at Alana International Travel, 207 W Worthey, Gonzales, LA, from 5 p.m-8 p.m.