Reprinted Obituary: Lexington Herald-Leader
Keeneland trustee grew up on the track’s grounds By Linda B. Blackford
William T. “Buddy” Bishop III, who grew up on Keeneland’s grounds and ended up at its helm, died Thursday, the day before the opening of Keeneland’s spring meet. He was 64.
Bishop was a partner in the Lexington law firm of Stoll Keenon Ogden and was considered a pillar of Kentucky’s thoroughbred industry as one of three trustees of the Keeneland Association Inc., the trust that governs the venerable track and sales company.
Keeneland President Nick Nicholson said Bishop had a deep love for Keeneland stemming from his childhood there. His father, W.T. Bishop, was the first employee of the fledgling racetrack, hired by Keeneland’s founder Hal Price Headley as a general manager in 1936. He and his family lived in part of what are now the Keeneland clubhouse and offices.
“He would play hide and seek in the grandstand,” Nicholson said. “He saw Keeneland grow up, and it is a Hollywood-type story that he would start out mowing the grass and end up in its highest position.”
Bishop was named a Keeneland trustee in 2005. Before that he was Keeneland’s lead counsel, secretary and a member of its board of directors. He also served on the boards and as counsel to numerous farms, including Claiborne Farm, Darley Stud, Godolphin Racing Inc., Juddmonte Farms Inc. and Mill Ridge Farm.
The fact that competing businesses would hire the same lawyer was a testament to his integrity and skill, said his law partner, Bill Lear.
“He was what every lawyer aspires to be, which is truly devoted to his clients, esteemed in the industry that he worked in and involved in every major issue that affected that industry,” Lear said. “But above all, he was just a delightful human being.”
Bishop was elected to The Jockey Club in 2006, and also served as a past president of the Thoroughbred Club of America.
“Buddy Bishop’s careful, measured, loyal voice of reason will be a cherished legacy of Keeneland for years to come,” former Keeneland Chairman and President James E. (Ted) Bassett, said in a statement. “Keeneland was a focal point of his entire life from his early youth to his years as the wise counselor to the industry, earning the respect, admiration and appreciation from the entire racing world.”
Surviving are his wife Nancy Ireland Bishop, son, William Thomas Bishop IV, of Paris, France, daughters, Shannon Bishop (Will) Arvin, of Nicholasville and Anne Bishop (Ryan) Almeida of Dublin, Ohio, sister, Jayne Bishop Norvell, of Louisville, two grandchildren, a niece and nephew.
A conference room in the law firm space in the Lexington office has been named in Mr. Bishop’s honor.