Trinidadian Mary Bishop dead at 59

Trinidadian Mary Bishop (right), director of Constituent Services for Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke with Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.
Office of Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke

Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke announced on Thursday that Trinidadian-born Mary Bishop, Clarke’s long-standing director of Constituent Services in the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, died on Sunday. She would have been 59 on June 25.

“Mary has been with our office and me for more than 15 years,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, stating that she was profoundly saddened by her passing. “She began working with me in my campaign for Congress in 2006 and was critical to our success.

“She was among the first of my staffers to work with me in DC (District of Columbia) as my first congressional scheduler,” Clarke added. “After an extended period, she returned home to her beloved 9th Congressional District.”

The congresswoman described Bishop as “a consummate public servant who was passionate about helping others.

“She seemed to be driven to help others who found themselves in the most difficult of circumstances, and she was gratified by bringing a smile to the face of those in distress,” she said.

Clarke also said that Bishop “had a heart of gold,” and that “she embodied what it meant to advocate for the people.”

She said Bishop’s passing “will resonate in our district immensely.

“She fought on behalf of every constituent that she encountered as if they were her blood relatives,” Clarke said. “She ingratiated herself to decision-makers and established relationships that would accrue to the benefit of the most vulnerable amongst us.

“On a personal note, I will miss Mary dearly,” she added. “We celebrated together, laughed together, and shared a passion for the people of the 9th district together.

“Mary Bishop worked hard, played hard, and was a God-fearing woman who loved her family immensely,” the congresswoman continued. “She was a proud Caribbean Woman from Trinidad and Tobago, who added so much to the richness of the cultural diversity in our office and her adopted home, Brooklyn, New York.

“I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to Mary’s immediate and extended family, loved ones, friends and all who were touched by the life and legacy of the incomparable Mary Bishop,” she said. “While I’m still coming to grips and processing her passing, I know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

Clarke ended her tribute by quoting Mahalia Jackson: “’If I can help somebody, as I travel along; If I can help somebody with a word or song;

If I help somebody from doing wrong; No, my living shall not be in vain.’”

Anita Taylor, Clarke’s 9th Congressional District director, and Bishop’s immediate supervisor, said on Facebook on Wednesday: “With heavy heart, I wish to inform you of the passing of my ride or die chick, my confidant, my best friend, Mary Bishop.

“I’m hurting,” Taylor added. “RIP (rest in peace) my sister until I see you again.”

Taylor also told Caribbean Life on Thursday: “This hit me like a brick. I can’t even process it. I can’t even come to my senses.”

Caribbean American Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said: “This hit hard. Mary was committed to serving the Brooklyn community for decades. It was an honor to work with her.

“Mary truly cared,” said the son of Grenadian immigrants. “She was kind and always smiled, even when mad. She pursued progress with principle and valued spiritual growth. Her legacy will last.”

Veteran New York State Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, the Jamaican-born representative for the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn, tweeted to Clarke: “My condolences to you, your staff, and all of Mary’s friends and family.

“She was a very good person and a dedicated public servant,” Perry said. “Her presence within our community will be sorely missed.