The Life of Elizabeth Ann Bishai

Elizabeth Ann Bishai, a caring wife, mother and friend, died in Glen Arm, Maryland on June 6, 2022, at age 84. She was predeceased by her husband, Wilson, and is survived by her three children: William, David and Linda Bishai, and seven grandchildren.


Elizabeth was born in Oberlin, Ohio, to Esther and Paul Gutman, and grew up with her sister, Pauline, in a house near the campus of Oberlin College. As a child, she loved to walk with her father, who had lost his vision as a teen, to his piano tuning job at the Oberlin Conservatory. Her mother considered her a hopeless tomboy as she loved to climb coal piles and play games with her dog and the boy next door.


A constant reader, Elizabeth left Oberlin to attend college in Washington, DC, where she met her husband. One of their first dates was to see the inaugural parade of President Dwight Eisenhower (and they saved an “I Like Ike” button as a memento!) Having left college to marry and start a family, Elizabeth ultimately finished her degree and received a master’s degree in library science, serving as a professional cataloger at Harvard University Library.


Although she always felt most at home in small towns, Elizabeth became a global traveler, living for a year in her husband’s native country, Egypt, and visiting Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, much of Europe and South Africa. Elizabeth also visited friends and family throughout the United States and kept in touch with an ever-growing circle of acquaintances. She never lost her curiosity and love of knowledge and started reading and writing poetry in her later years.

A warm and generous spirit, Elizabeth enjoyed making everyone feel welcome and at home with her gentle humor. Family and friends spent many happy hours around her table sharing good food and stimulating conversation. She was always ready to open her heart and her door.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations in Elizabeth’s memory be sent to International Rescue Committee . 

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