Christopher James 'Jamie' Bishop

Christopher James "Jamie" Bishop

Hometown: Pine Mountain, Ga.

Age: 35 years old

Location: Norris Hall

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Profile: Christopher James "Jamie" Bishop, a German instructor slain in Norris Hall, lived an "action-packed 35 years," a former teacher says.

Bishop, who wore his hair in a ponytail and was an avid amateur photographer, had been a Virginia Tech faculty member since 2005. His wife, Stefanie Hofer, is an assistant professor of German there.

Bishop completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Georgia in 1993, then was a Fulbright scholar in Kiel, Germany. He lived abroad for four years before returning to the University of Georgia to earn his master's in 1998, according to his personal Web site.

Of his time in Germany, Bishop wrote on his site that he "spent most of his time learning the language, teaching English, drinking large quantities of wheat beer and wooing a certain Fraulein." News reports said the reference was to Hofer. Calls to their home were unanswered.

The bespectacled Bishop, who referred to himself as Herr Bishop at Virginia Tech, grew up in Pine Mountain, Ga., and was valedictorian of Harris County High School, where he was on the tennis team. He was active in the art club, science club and debate team, said social studies teacher Gail Sheppard, who taught Bishop and his younger sister, Stephanie.

"Jamie lived 35 years, and I guarantee it was an action-packed 35 years," Sheppard said.

The Rev. Matthew Mitchell, pastor of First United Methodist Church, which Jamie Bishop attended as a youth, said Pine Mountain is a small community of 1,500 people. The Bishops live three blocks from the church, and the family walked to church on pleasant days, he said.

Michael Bishop, Jamie's father, is the writer-in-residence at LaGrange College, the oldest private college in Georgia. He has published more than 30 books of science fiction and fantasy literature, including "Brighten to Incandescence," a collection of short stories for which his son designed the cover art. Jeri Bishop, Jamie's mother, is a counselor at Rosemont Elementary School in LaGrange.

LaGrange College President F. Stuart Gulley issued a message yesterday saying that like many higher education institutions, the college would review its emergency policies.

"Such tragic and senseless loss of life is a reminder that much in life is random and cannot be fully anticipated, let alone understood," Gulley said. "Even the most carefully crafted and practiced security plan cannot guarantee our safety when there are those intent on doing such incomprehensible harm."

-- Jackie Spinner, The Washington Post


© 2007 The Washington Post Company