William P. Bishop, 50, of Holland, a pension consultant and actuary for many years, died Monday, Dec. 19, at his home of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Before retiring in 2008 due to illness, Mr. Bishop served as president of the Savitz Organization, a Philadelphia employee-benefits consulting firm with offices at 1845 Walnut St.

Mr. Bishop joined Savitz in December 1995 and became president in 1997. Under his leadership, the firm developed and gained a national reputation for creative, quality service, said Tom Finnegan, a principal in the company.

During Mr. Bishop's tenure, the firm was twice recognized as one of the 100 fastest-growing firms in the Greater Philadelphia region despite its being 30 years old, Finnegan said.

Mr. Bishop founded the Taft-Hartley practice at Savitz and was recognized as one of the country's most innovative practitioners in that labor-relations niche.

He oversaw a broad expansion in Savitz's systems group and found ways for technology to enhance clients' understanding of issues, Finnegan said.

"He believed that technology is a tool meant to enhance a consultant's effectiveness, not a substitute for consulting," Finnegan said.

Mr. Bishop was diagnosed with ALS in 2003, but remained active at Savitz through 2007.

"Bill was a team leader and had some great vision. Even after he got sick, he continued to drive the firm," Finnegan said.

In retirement, Mr. Bishop used technology as a tool to improve the quality of his life. Though in later years the disease severely curtailed his movement and speech, he remained in contact with the outside world through speech-simulator technology, the Internet, e-mail, and other computer technologies controlled by eye movement.

"He used these technologies to keep his mind active, which he believed helped him to far outlive the predictions of his health-care team," Finnegan said.

Mr. Bishop lived in Holland for the last 22 years. He was married to Karen S. Bishop; the two met as trainees at Fidelity Mutual in Radnor.

Born and raised in Wilmington, Mr. Bishop graduated from Mount Pleasant High School there in 1979.

He graduated in 1983 from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia with a bachelor's degree in mathematics.

A direct descendant of William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Bishop loved American history.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, are a son, Stephen P.; a daughter, Elaine M.; his mother, Helen L. Sacre; his father, William P.; a brother; and a sister.

Funeral services and interment are private.

Contributions in his name may be made to the ALS Association-Greater Philadelphia Chapter, 321 N. Norristown Rd., Suite 260, Ambler, Pa. 19002.

Contact staff writer Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com.