John Robert Fisher, 79, passed into eternal life August 14, 2022, at his home in Escanaba following a yearlong battle against stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Born December 7, 1942, in Manistique, Michigan to parents Hugh Fisher of Gilchrist and Elsie (Boucha) Fisher of Engadine, John spent his youth trapping, hunting, and fishing the wilds of the eastern and central Upper Peninsula. He attended the Nahma School until the family moved to Escanaba in 1956.
John graduated Escanaba High School in 1961 where he excelled in football, basketball, and track. As a senior he was awarded the Herman Gessner Trophy in honor of his athletic prowess and academic achievements. He then attended Western Michigan University, where he competed in football and track and was a member of the Theta Xi fraternity. In 1965 he graduated WMU with a Bachelor of Science, followed by year in Arizona at the American Institute of Foreign Trade (Thunderbird) where he earned a (second) Bachelor of Foreign Trade in 1966.
Following his graduate education, John enlisted in the United States Army. He completed Basic and Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and was selected for Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant - with follow-on orders to Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird, Maryland. From October 1967 until October 1968, John served in Vietnam. Assigned to the Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC), during the Tet Offensive he found himself an active participant in the defense of Saigon. For his courage, initiative and devotion to duty, Lieutenant Fisher was awarded the Staff Service Honor Medal First Class by the Commanding General ARVNAF. Additional awards include the United States Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. Following a stateside assignment in counterintelligence, John was honorably discharged from active duty May 31, 1969.
On September 6, 1969, John Fisher and Irene Falk were married at Zion Lutheran Church in Skanee, Michigan. Their son, Rhett, was born a year later as John quickly became a devoted family man. He worked for a short time at the Oldsmobile plant in Lansing, Michigan, followed by a year with Ford Motor Credit as an auditor and car repossession specialist and a year as a City of Marquette police officer.
Ultimately, in 1972, he followed in his father's footsteps and became a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer. John's law enforcement career was a natural extension of his love for the outdoors and his military intelligence background. While with the DNR, he also completed highly impactful assignments as an Environmental Investigator and an inaugural member of the undercover Report All Poaching (RAP) Unit. He retired from the State of Michigan in 1992 with 20 years of service and from 1983 until 2003 the Fishers owned and operated Fishery Pointe Beach Cottages (formerly Simpson's Lakeside Cottages) in Ford River Township on the shores of Little Bay de Noc.
John was a tremendous mentor and role model to his son and a devoted husband to his wife of 53 years. Forever in pursuit of fish, game, petroglyphs, and artifacts, he was a master storyteller who made every outing a joyful adventure for those daring enough to keep up. He hunted whitetail deer at his beloved Bark River Camp Tidy, wild turkey across five states, ducks as far as Manitoba and, perhaps his favorite, pheasants in North Dakota. On the Great Lakes he trolled for walleye and salmon. On Pine Island Sound (Florida) he casted for redfish, snook and sea trout. He was a charter member of Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County where he always seemed to get the "big prize" at the annual dinner-raffle. From 1972 onward, John's constant companions were a series of loyal bird dogs. Whether in the field, at home or in his truck on his way to camp, he was rarely seen without a canine buddy.
An avid reader, John amassed a tremendous library and fund of knowledge on flora, fauna, Native American and natural history. Never a casual observer of anything, he watched televised and live sporting events with a keen eye and continually amazed his family with his insights and analyses. An astute judge of body language and human nature, he especially looked forward to his bimonthly poker game, winning piles of nickels, dimes, and quarters from the same friend group for over 20 years.
Above all, John possessed great character and boundless enthusiasm. These were his most special, most endearing qualities. His family and friends miss him immensely but are blessed with infinite cherished memories.
John is survived by his loving wife, Irene; grateful son, Rhett Falk Fisher and wife Dr. Kathleen Herne of Boca Raton, Florida; grandchildren Matthew Fisher of Amarillo, Texas; Holden Fisher, Jillian Fisher, Ethan Fisher, all of Boca Raton, Florida; great-grand-daughter Mariana Fisher and her mother, Patricia Vega Fisher, both of Amarillo, Texas.
Additional survivors include his brother Harland Fisher (Virginia) of Fort Myers, Florida; brother Charles Fisher (Colleen) of Negaunee, Michigan; nieces Tonya Uren, Kaylin Lu, Linnea Tighe; nephews Tyler Fisher and Nathan Fisher. In-laws Darlene Falk (Robert) Fredrikson of Ontonagon, Michigan; George E. Falk of Coyote, California; Donald (Kathy) Koski of Battle Creek, Michigan; special cousin Phillip (Darlene) Boucha of Grand Blanc, Michigan; and high school best friend/best man Tom Butler of Shell Lake, Wisconsin.
John was preceded in death by three children who died at birth from RH factor complications: Thomas in 1972, Melinda in 1975, and Faith in 1977; his parents, Hugh and Elsie Fisher; grandparents, Herbert and Alice Fisher and Alferd and Avis Boucha; father in-law George Falk and mother in-law Sadie Falk; brother in-laws John and William Koski; sister in-law Evelyn Koski Corgan; special cousin James Fandrick and special friend from Army Officer Candidate School Thomas Cooney (KIA Vietnam, 1968).
Graveside services (with military honors) for John Robert Fisher will be held 11:00AM, Monday, July 17, 2023, at the Skanee Cemetery, Skanee, Michigan. Pastor Peter Suomela will officiate. A luncheon will follow at the Skanee Town Hall. Jacobson Funeral Home is assisting the family
Friends may sign John's guest book or send condolences at www.jacobsonfuneralhome.com.