From the Boston Globe (excerpts) — 11/14/2005
“He loved being behind the camera,” Holly Lopez of Coral Gables, Fla., said of her father, who died of cancer Monday in his home in Attleboro. He was 80.
Mr. Bischoff began his career at Channel 16 in Rehoboth, shortly after serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
“He walked right in to the position,” his son, Robert of Attleboro said. He was taking pictures at a wedding and bumped into the owner of the station. My father asked how you got into the TV business, and he put him behind the camera that night.”
Mr. Bischoff soon moved on to WPRO (later WPRI) in Providence, shortly after it went on the air in 1955. He produced and directed many local news shows at the station, including Salty’s Shack with TV personality Walter “Salty” Brine, Romper Room, Morning Merry-Go-Round, and local news shows. “He learned how to direct on the job,” said his son. “TV was a very small world back then.”
Mr. Bischoff was a founder of Videocomin Boston, which produced TV advertisements and promotional films. “He did a lot of advertising work,” Lopez said.
Mr. Bischoff also photographed weddings for many years.
“For several years, he produced a slide show he showed at the Rhode Island Pavilion at the Eastern State Exposition in Springfield,” his daughter said. It was meant to show the state in a favorable light.
He was also an accomplished musician, who played the piano and trombone. “He picked up the trombone when he was in high school,” his son said.
A lifelong resident of Attleboro, Mr. Bischoff was a member of many local bands, including the Attleboro Concert Band, Rhode Island Wind Ensemble, and R.S.V.P. Band of Woonsocket, R.I.
“He was a happy man, always smiling,” Robert Bischoff said.
And he was energetic, even late in life. “Before he became ill, he was playing trombone in a marching band, bicycling, and swimming 20 laps a day,” Lopez said. “He was an unpretentious man who loved to sing, and enjoyed the simple things like a pretty sunset.
For the past 15 years, Mr. Bischoff filmed activities at the State House in Boston on a free-lance basis for WGBH-TV. “I thought he was in his 60s; he looked so young and frisky. He would have stayed there all night if you wanted him to,” said Ed Chuck, operations and engineering manager at WGBH.
“He carried an 80-pound camera right up the hill,” said Robert Bischoff, “and when he wasn’t busy, he filmed Boston scenes.”
In addition to his son and daughter, Mr. Bischoff leaves his wife, Marilyn (Brett); a sister, Hildegard Denzer of Attleboro; and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held…in Duffy-Poule Funeral Home in Attleboro.
From Cynthia Broner
Condolences to the family and friends of Walter Bischoff, who died on 10/31.
Since the first broadcast of Gavel to Gavel in 1984, Walter was a regular freelancer at the State House and back at the studios at ’GBH. He last worked for WGBH on 7/23, three days before his 80th birthday.
“He always had a smile on his face and a good word to say to everyone he came in contact with,’ says Gavel to Gavel associate producer Terry Quinn. “His ever-present optimism will be greatly missed in the control room here at the State House.”