William “Bill” Bish
September 29, 1957 — August 4, 2023
Husband • Father • Brother • Biker
William H. “Bill” Bish, age 65, of Westlake, Ohio passed away with his loving wife by his side on Friday, August 4, 2023 due to medical complications. Bill was born in Des Moines, Iowa to Clarence “Rusty” Bish and Margaret “Mitzi” Bish (nee Sorter), both deceased.
Dearly beloved husband of 27 years to Darlene R. Bish (nee Griggs), loving father of Rachelle Bish (Joey Zika), dearest brother of Beverly (Dave) Booker, dearest brother-in-law of Mickey (Bill, deceased) Griggs, dearest nephew of Aunt Jo McGlynn and Aunt Norma Morgan (deceased), dear uncle, cousin and friend of so very many. Bill and Darlene were a team in everything they did together in life, truly adored one another, and had a deep, special love that comes only once in a lifetime. Within the family, the term ‘Beep-Beep’ became synonymous with the words ‘I Love You’. Bill’s family was his world.
Bill enhanced this world on September 29, 1957 at Still Hospital and was the charismatic, mischievous boy who could out-draw Marshall Dillon of Gunsmoke on TV with his BB gun, which was a sign of things to come. Living his entire youth on 2nd Ave in Des Moines, he graduated from North High School in 1975 and joined the Marine Corps thereafter. That took him to San Diego CA, Memphis TN, Korea and Japan. Bill received many commendations, was a marksman on the shooting team, part of the Press Corps and reached the rank of E-5 Sargent during his tour. He was a proud Marine. He returned home in 1979 to go to Drake University, majoring in Journalism and Public Relations, where he graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in 3 years. He also bought a brand-new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Upon his college graduation, Bill was recruited to work for the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Washington DC where he ran celebrity shooting competitions and even wrote quotes for President Ronald Reagan, among other writing and promotional duties. He then headed for the sunshine of Los Angeles, CA where he really got involved in the world of motorcycling. He worked for various motorcycle attorneys, including over two decades with the Law Offices of Richard Lester in California and the Law Offices of Ralph C. Buss in Ohio, and even multiple years with the infamous Easyriders Magazine, the superlative biker’s lifestyle guide of the time.
Bill found his passion in legislation and politics affecting the industry, working to protect motorcycling and individual freedom through his paid positions and various volunteer organizations. Along with many others, his efforts helped grow a grassroots movement that changed a notorious federal law in four short years, which was unheard of. He helped make bikers a political force to be reckoned with.
Bill was a true biker, putting hundreds of thousands of miles riding around almost every state in this country; a nation he loved, that he would fight for, and that he thought had the most beautiful landscape to see, especially from the seat of a motorcycle. He traversed the country many times, usually with Darlene on her bike and Rachelle in the sidecar, speaking at various biker rallies and seminars. He was a very inspiring, captivating speaker, bigger than life. That’s how he and Darlene met, at a Freedom Rally in Tennessee fighting for their rights. The two of them had an instant deep connection that was inexplicable, they were truly soulmates who found a love that was glorious. Their daughter Rachelle made his life complete and was the apple of his eye and he was so very proud of her.
Bill Bish was the former Executive Coordinator and current Public Relations Liaison of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists and Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (NCOM and AIM), former State Director of ABATE of California and Concerned Motorcycle Riders of Ohio (CMRO), member of ABATE of Ohio, Kentucky Motorcycle Association (KMA/KBA) and the American Motorcyclists Association (AMA), was on the original Steering Committee for the formation of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) in the 80s, among other positions, and had been politically active for over 40 years in bikers’ rights issues. He had four Silver Spoke Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in South Dakota, home of the Black Hills Motorcycle Rally.
After moving to Ohio in 2001 to be by Darlene’s family, the two of them got into the magazine business and eventually became owners/publishers of Ridin’ On Motorcycle Magazine in 2007. It quickly became the #1 regional publication of its type and they were very proud of it and a summer-long program Bill created in 2008 called the Ride ‘N’ Roll, both of which still continue today. He was such a prolific wordsmith and has had a news column that went out to a half a million people for over two decades. He wrote for various magazines, lawyers, doctors, politicians and even a President. But more so, Bill was a GOOD man, a great man. He touched so, so many people with his kindness, his motivating speeches, his resolute spirit and his amazing sense of humor. Bill was a man of the utmost integrity and a generous caring soul that thought of everyone else first before himself. He was larger than life and his presence will be felt forever. Please remember his big smile and zest for life to live each day to its fullest, as he did.
Family received friends to celebrate Bill’s life Thursday, August 17, 2023, from 4 PM – 8 PM at Corrigan Craciun Funeral Home, 20820 Lorain Rd, Fairview Park OH 44126. Funeral Services were at 10 AM on Friday, August 18, 2023 at the Corrigan Craciun Funeral Home with a procession following to the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, 10175 Rawiga Rd, Seville, OH 44273, where Committal Services were held with full military honors at 12:45 PM.