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View a eulogy for Eric Lawrence Bischoff, USMA '64, who passed away on March 29, 1984.

Eric Lawrence Bischoff

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Tom Durfee on May 31, 2004:

It's been just a little over 20 years since Eric left us, but his memory still burns brightly on this Memorial Day, 2004.

Eric was my Firstie year roommie and best friend at West Point. Together, we decided to choose Signal Corps as our first choice of branch assignments. Since, at that time, neither of us planned to get married after graduation, Eric talked me into volunteering for Korea to get a "short tour" out of the way, and so I did. But on the day we signed up for our first duty posts, Eric informed me he had changed his mind and opted for Germany instead! Think he had already decided on asking his OAO, Bonnie, for her hand. A few months later, I ushered at their wedding during graduation summer in Zanesville, Ohio, which just happened to also be my Dad's (USMA '34) hometown. Eric's Dad owned a small hardware store and his Mom was a nurse who fixed me up with the next door Rabbi's daughter, a great looking, fun loving, blind date! We had a super time. Eric was always very close to his family and spoke of them often. The day before his wedding, Eric found time to "play soldier" and go camping in the back yard with his younger brother who he obviously adored.

During one of those many "deep" conversations roommates often have, Eric said he would like to have a family, but couldn't visualize himeself as an "elderly man." I often wonder what sort of premonition caused him to make such a statement as he was always in great physical shape. He faithfully maintained a rigerous personal PT program in preparation for Ranger School, an unheard of project for a Firstie!

He often found time after classes during the fall of 1963 to visit our beloved ARMY TEAM's football practice. One of my fondest memories was when Chet Kempinski broke out of practice to come by and say "Hi Big Eric; hi Big Tom." Don't think either of us ever told Chet how much that meant.

Eric's favorite subject Firstie year was Military Art and History and at one point I think he even aspired to return as an instructor in that Department. On the way to class, he would drill me on various topics he thought might be on that day's quiz, and he was remarkably accurate in his predictions. I soon realized I really didn't need to read all those dry pages....just pay attention to Eric on the way to class and I managed a passing grade with a minimal effort.

Eric's freindship was reflected in many, many ways, including permanently posting his name as "Room Orderly" for most of the entire year to help keep me out of demerit trouble with the tactical department. Together we made it through Jump School and started Ranger School as "Ranger Buddies," but I was "recycled" to the next class after a horrible ankle sprain on the first day's PT test.

We pretty much lost contact until just before I went to Germany in 1981 when we chatted on the phone for about an hour. He and Bonnie were raising cats and going to numerous shows across the country. Said he was a little scared of his two boys, but was managing to keep a step ahead of them most of the time. At that time, he had been cancer free for over eight years since his medical retirement in 1973 and didn't mention having any medical problems. His untimely passing two years later came as a sudden and deep emotional shock to us all.

Well, Eric, thanks for this trip down Memory Lane. We're planning to attend the Class's 40th reunion this September, and I know that on the plain you will be remembered, honored, and most of all, missed. God Bless !

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