Marion L. Bishop, Sr. was born on September 5, 1919 in Aucilla, Florida in Jefferson County. While a student at Aucilla High School, Marion was Treasurer of the Florida FFA Association and earned the State Farmer Degree. He graduated in 1937 and went on to the University of Florida, where he was a charter member of the Collegiate FFA Chapter and an officer for four years. Marion received his degree in agriculture in 1941 and began his career as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor in Okaloosa County.
Marion Bishop and Family
In 1944, even though he had an exemption as an agriculture teacher, Marion enlisted in the Navy and served in the war as radar man. When he left the service in 1946, he moved to Newberry High School, where he added Veterans Training Program Director to his roles as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. Marion served as the cooperating teacher for many student teachers in agriculture who were enrolled in the Ag Ed program at UF. His success as a teacher brought an opportunity 12 years later, in 1958, to impact the lives of many more students as the Director of Vocational and Technical Education for Alachua County. His continued success as an administrator and mentor led to further promotions to State of Florida Area Supervisor for Manpower Development and Training, Area Supervisor of Industrial Education, and Area Two Regional Program Director. Through his tenacious and creative approach to his duties, Marion helped build a successful secondary and postsecondary system of vocational centers and school-based programs across North Florida, from Jacksonville to Pensacola.
After his retirement in 1976 Marion continued to support agricultural education and FFA by serving on advisory committees and judging FFA events, while managing his farming operations. He also continued to actively support his community as a church deacon, bank board director, leader in the American Legion and Lions Club and supporter of Dudley Farm State Park. Marion still takes special pleasure in meeting with young people and is a guest speaker in classes from time to time. In 1976 he received the Dedicated Service Award for 35 years in Vocational Education. He was also presented with Florida FFA Association’s Outstanding Service Award in 1977. In 1978 he earned both the Carl W. Proehl Award and the W. T. Loften Award for his work in vocational and agricultural education. His contributions to resource conservation won him the Goodyear Award in 1979 and the Woodmen of the World Conservation award in 1980. He was recognized with the Honorary FFA American Farmer Degree in 1982.
Marion married Mildred Robinette during his first teaching job, and they raised two children, Marion Junior or Lanny, and Marilyn. Mildred passed away in 2006, but Marion remains active with his family, friends, church, and the Newberry community.
Marion L. Bishop, Sr. was inducted into the Florida FFA Hall of Fame October 3, 2009.