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    Friends and family mourn teenage pilot

    The boy who died in a crash was remembered as a "polite, brilliant, compassionate kid.''

    By ROBERT FARLEY, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 13, 2002


    PALM HARBOR -- Because Charles Bishop always wanted to be an Air Force pilot, his friend Emerson Favreau cut a stripe off one of his father's Air Force shirts and placed it in his friend's casket.

    Favreau was one of about 40 friends, family members and teachers who gathered to provide a "loving tribute" to Charles Bishop in a private funeral ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Moss-Feaster Funeral Homes & Cremation Services branch in Palm Harbor.

    Friends and family will never understand what happened Jan. 5 when Bishop, 15, crashed a Cessna into the Bank of America building in downtown Tampa, said Dale Porter, headmaster at Dunedin Academy middle school, which Bishop attended last year.

    But Porter said the comments made by several friends and family members who eulogized Bishop at the service Saturday suggested that "the last few minutes of his life were no indication of what he was about."

    Although the service was closed to the public, Favreau shared some comments he made about the classmate he considered his best friend at East Lake High School.

    "If I needed someone to talk to, I knew I could count on Charles," Favreau said. "He was a kind and honest friend who I shared a passion for flying with."

    Favreau said he had hoped the two of them would join the U.S. Air Force together.

    "But last Saturday, with no warning, he took his own life," Favreau said. "I wish I could have done something to stop him, but I, like most, had no idea he had the plan of doing this.

    "Either way, I am grateful I was one of the few people who had a chance to get to know Charles J. Bishop," Favreau said.

    Porter said the messages conveyed about Bishop at the service confirmed for him that Bishop was a "polite, brilliant, compassionate kid with the heart of a poet."

    The service was filled with friends, family and teachers who cared about Bishop, Porter said.

    "Hopefully, it has become apparent that he was not a loner," Porter said. "Charles was selective, as far as his friends go. He looked for quality in everything he did."

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