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Mr. Melvin Lee Bishop, Sr. was born in Putnam County, Georgia, on May 25, 1947, to the parentage of the late Matthew Bishop, Sr., and Pecolia Nichols Bishop. Melvin entered this life with a purpose; born the middle son of three boys, Melvin was determined to succeed and leave a mark on the world. Melvin peacefully retired to blessed eternal rest on Saturday, May 21, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother, Arthur L. Bishop. Melvin was educated in the Putnam County public school system. In 1966, he graduated from Butler-Baker High School. On March 30, 1965, Melvin married the love of his life, Ms. Annie L Dennis. The Lord allowed them to spend 57 years together. God blessed this union with two children, Melvin Jr. and Jennifer. At an early age, Melvin accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, joining Jefferson Baptist Church in Eatonton, Georgia. As an adult, he joined Ebenezer Baptist Church where he was an active member of the adult Sunday School class, served over 50 years on the Deacon Board, started the Young Men for Christ (YMC), and founded the Agnes J. Jenkins Scholarship Program. Melvin was originally employed by Georgia Power as a laborer in 1967. Through hard work and dedication, he advanced his career, holding positions such as coal equipment operator, tractor operator, locomotive operator, and finally reaching an executive position as a coal handling supervisor. He retired after 36 years of service. His Lifelong Legacy... At a young age, Melvin worked on the family farm of Cousin Grady and Jessie Mae Bailey. During this time, he received his knowledge of dairy and livestock farming. Continuing the processes of farming gained in childhood, Melvin founded African American Family Farmers, Inc. He actively served as national vice chairman of Community to Enhance Resources for Underserved Farmers (CERUF); organized the Georgia Chapter of Black Farmers and Agriculturist Association (BFAA); and was a Council for Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching (CARET) representative for Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. Melvin was a political advocate for positive change. His passion for justice began in 1965 where he engaged in the civil rights movement at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He later joined the NAACP local branch chapter #5229 where he served for several years as the president. Melvin later pursued his political career by joining the Democratic Party and Board of Registrars. Melvin’s highest peak of his political experience was qualifying and placing third in the race for chairman of the Board of Commissioners. Melvin quite active in his community in service: former board member of Putnam General Hospital Authority; former president of Butler-Baker class of 1966; charter member and former vice president of the Butler-Baker Alumni Project, Inc.; member of Jefferson Sun Lodge #242; Prince Hall Jurisdiction of Georgia; Mason; Past Worshipful Master; Order of the Eastern Star; Superior Chapter #160; Past Worthy Patron; life member of both fraternal orders with over 50 years of service. In later years, Melvin gained a new passion in youth enrichment by serving as a substitute teacher for Putnam County Board of Education. He had a unique way of reaching even the most challenged youth by emphasizing the importance of life skills, character-building, work ethics, and social skills. With all his lifelong endeavors, Melvin still found time for family, fishing, farming, hunting, and traveling. Loving memories of Melvin will continue to live in the hearts of: his devoted wife, Mrs. Annie Bishop of Eatonton, Georgia; son, Melvin Bishop, Jr. (Julia), of Greensboro, Georgia; daughter, Jennifer Bishop-Davis (Patrick) of Pooler, Georgia; brother, Matthew Bishop, Jr., of Eatonton, Georgia; aunt, Willie Kate Nelson of Eatonton, Georgia; two brothers-in-law, Dave Dennis, Jr., and Freddie Lee Humphries (Thelma), both Eatonton, Georgia; close cousins, Leila Mitchell of Hephzibah, Georgia, and Torris Baily (Ellen) of Tucker, Georgia; ten beautiful grandchildren; and a host of great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
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