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Rev. Peter Bisset, 74 owned radio station


The Rev. Peter Bisset, who spent his adult life spreading the gospel from the pulpit, over the airwaves and from a 472-acre ranch in Carroll County, died Tuesday of a heart attack while visiting his son in Voluntown, Conn. He was 74.

He and his brother, the Rev. John Bisset, owned the Peter and John Radio Fellowship, owner of Baltimore radio station WRBS-AM and the River Valley Ranch, which is near the Pennsylvania border.

The ranch is designed to "reproduce for youth the romantic and nostalgic era of a century ago" and the atmosphere of the Old West, his brother said in a 1975 story in The Sun. The camp features gospel music, sermons, rodeo shows and religious counseling during 11 weeks in the summer. It operates as a farm the rest of the year.

With Mr. Bisset's death comes the final broadcast of the "Peter and John" radio program, which aired five days a week on WRBS, with organ music, song and scripture. The last program was scheduled to be aired at 8 a.m. today.

"After hearing "Peter and John" every day at 8 o'clock, it's going to be a little different," said Tom Bisset, a nephew and general manager of WRBS.

Born in Motherwell, Scotland, Mr. Bisset immigrated to the United States in 1930 with his family and the settled in Passaic, N.J. In his teens, he played organ and piano and traveled with evangelistic groups.

He trained for the ministry at New Tribes Mission in Chicago.

Mr. Bisset founded the Arlington Baptist Church in 1947 and has been its only pastor. From its small home in Pimlico in Northwest Baltimore, the church became a large independent Baptist Church with ministries that include a nursing home, middle and high schools and a Bible college, all located at 3030 N. Rolling Road in Baltimore County.

In 1948, he and his brother founded the fellowship along with the late Rev. Paul Plack -- it was the Peter, Paul and John Fellowship at the time -- until Mr. Plack left to pastor a church in fTC Pennsylvania, said Tom Bisset, who is writing a history of the organization.

The fellowship bought WRBS in 1964, changing its format from )) easy listening to gospel. The organization also owns the Peter & John Trustworthy bookstore on Liberty Road.

Mr. Bisset enjoyed hunting and fishing with his sons and often vacationed at their homes. His daughter is the organist at Arlington Baptist.

A son, Jonathan, died of leukemia in 1990.

Services for Mr. Bisset will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Arlington Baptist Church.

In addition to his brother, survivors include his wife, the former Florence Browers; three sons, David Bisset of Fuquay-Varino, N.C., Daniel Bisset of Voluntown, Conn., and Peter Bisset of Tuolumne, Calif.; a daughter, Mary Harris of Randallstown; 12 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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