Derby Community Spotlight: Introducing Michael Bishop

Michael Bishop wearing an old school Derby Jacket at the 1472 Haight street Flagship Store

To debut our community spotlight series, we sat down with Michael Bishop, the lead of HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) at UCSF hospitals and proud wearer of Derby. In conversation with him, memories of a lifetime in San Francisco unravel as he tells us, “there is no place like home.”

The introduction of Derby in the early 60’s came as a classic jacket created for the working class of San Francisco. As told by Tony Robles, SF poet, “kids of every color wore them. It was as if the jacket were a multicultural badge and you became a member of San Francisco, or Frisco bloodline when that Jacket hit your skin: Black, Chinese Filipino, Irish, Italian, Samoan or a combination thereof, all [of the kids] in a nondescript, rather plain looking jacket.” 

Amongst those kids stood Michael, native to the Eureka Valley neighborhood, popular by its sub-neighborhood the Castro. Michael tells us of a childhood known by many natives, running between neighborhoods to play ball and making new friends through competitive games in the beloved Glen park and Eureka Valley.

Following his graduation from Sacred Heart Highschool in 79’, Michael enlisted in the military (serving from 1980 to 1990) and brought his San Francisco uniform with him, his Derby jackets:

“I went into the service and brought my jackets with me, a black one and an off white one... To this day, I still have my navy derby from highschool which is in perfect condition-- I always take it to the cleaners, maybe it is a military thing but I take good care of it.”

Michael continues forward to tell of his return to the city after his service,

“For me there's no place like home. I was in the service for ten years, and I was going to stay there in Arizona, but all of my friends and family were here and I married my high school sweetheart.”

Indeed there is no place like San Francisco, and it is a city made better by community members like Michael. As head of the HVACC, Michael is a guardian angel to our city, responsible for the wellness of hospital patients. Day in and day out, Michael (fully dressed in protective gear) prepares and enters COVID patient isolation rooms-- his work truly integral to making UCSF equipped to meet the dire demands of the pandemic. 

Off the clock, his service for the community continues as he previously coached coed softball and is a member of the Natives Sons of the Golden West, a fraternal organization founded in 1875 for California natives-- committed to the historic preservation of California and charitable work.

Amidst the life changes and a life of good work, Michael’s tradition of wearing a Derby Jacket continues forward with his own son. With a chuckle, Michael admits:

“In fact I haven’t even bought a jacket yet from the new store but my son bought me one for Christmas. My son has got four or five Derby Jackets, the black one, the burgundy, the 310 and the giant one: he's buying them now!”