Richard Dean Fisher
September 28, 1939 – December 8, 2019
Richard Dean “Dick” Fisher, age 80, passed away Sunday morning, December 8, 2019 surrounded by his family.
Richard was born on September 28, 1939 in Bemis, Tennessee to William Benton and Acenah Mills Fisher. He was part of a close-knit family of 13 children. In his younger days in Jackson he played Little League, Babe Ruth, and American Legion baseball. He was in the first graduating class of Southside High School in 1957, where he excelled in baseball, football, and basketball. He attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville on a baseball-football-basketball scholarship and graduated in 1965 with a BS in Business Administration. He was a US veteran having served in the National Guard.
In 1965, he married the former Janie Patterson of Jackson, TN. They made their home and began to raise their 3 children Sally, Ricky, and John in Milan. As their children grew up, Richard and Janie were extremely active in their childrens’ education and athletics. In 1983 Janie passed away from leukemia. Throughout these years Richard worked at ITT and then at H & M Construction in Milan as a Project Manager and later became Sr Vice-President of Project Management. During this time Richard was involved in numerous civic clubs and community activities, such as the Milan School Board, Milan Chamber of Commerce, and as a Babe Ruth and a Little League Coach.
In 1984 Richard married the former Sandra (Sandy) Ary Haase whose children are Brad and Mandy. “Dick and Sandy’ resided in Milan and were involved in the local business community, schools, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1989 Richard founded Fisher Construction and chose to locate his new business in downtown Milan. With the help of many great employees, his friends in the local business community, and contacts in the local construction industry he built his business into one of the most respected firms in West Tennessee. Richard managed the firm until his retirement when his son, John, succeeded him. Richard continued to give his support and advice through the years. Throughout this time Richard was involved in the local community working with the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation, YMCA, CASA, Exchange Club, Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Richard also attended Milan Cumberland Presbyterian Church and served as an Elder and Sunday School Teacher during this time.
Richard later moved to Bemis where he met and married the former Judy Shell Dennison of Ridgely and Jackson, TN in 2013. While in Bemis and Jackson during this time he was involved in multiple organizations and community activities, such as advisor to the Board of the Former 1916 Rosenwald School & West Bemis Community Center, Board Member of the Bemis Historical Society, Member of West TN Storytellers Club, Active Citizen of the Bemis, TN Community, IONA Community and supporter, Church Affiliations with Anderson Presbyterian Church and First Baptist Bemis.
Richard had many different very special nicknames that relate to many different times and roles in his life - Tootie, Dick, Dad, Grandpa, Pa, Pepaw, Uncle Richard, Papa Tooty, Mr. Fisher… and he took these roles seriously.
He was an incredible father and even more incredible grandfather. His grandchildren were his most precious legacy, evident by the time and attention given to them. He created endless opportunities to ensure that they would understand the importance of love, hard work, and treating others with kindness and respect. Through every season of his life he purposefully created memories through photographs, storytelling, paintings, songs, and poems at the lakehouse, which left his grandchildren with a tremendous appreciation for the outdoors and their family.
Richard is survived and remembered by so many: his wife Judy, his daughter Sally (Michael) Via, and sons Rick (RoseMary) and John (Becky) from his first marriage to Janie Patterson Fisher, who preceded him in death in 1983; his former wife Sandra Ary Fisher and her children Mandy (Chris) Kato and Brad (Linda) Haase; grandchildren Ricky Dean, Lily, Hal, Martha, Dominic, Gabe, Max, Ella, John, Ryan, Jack, Lucas, Olivia, Hank, Maddie, Joe, and Clara; and great grandchild Camilla Mae; Judy’s children Sara (Dan) Fuller, Michael Dennison, and Chesley (Jenny) Dennison and Judy’s grandchildren Zach, Sara, Jozeph, Bella, and Sophie. Richard is also survived by his siblings Kenny (Susan), David (Annette), Paul (Beverly), Ronald (Lenyr), Alice (Joe) Isaac, Louise (Charles) Blankenship, Bobby (Dorothy), and preceded in death by his siblings Benton Jr. (Betty), Nell (Bill) Jones, Betty (Fred) Short, Thomas (Claire), and George (Jolena), and by many, many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be sent to one of the following organizations: Walter Brewer Bemis Community Center (West Bemis Rosenwald School), Bemis Historical Society, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- Judy Dennison Fisher, Wife
- Sally Fisher Via (Michael), Daughter
- Rick Fisher (RoseMary), Son
- John Fisher (Becky), Son
- Mandy Cato (Chris), Stepdaughter
- Brad Haase (Linda), Stepson
- Sara Fuller (Dan), Stepdaughter
- Michael Dennison, Stepson
- Chesley Dennison (Jenny), Stepson
- Ricky Dean, Grandchild
- Lily, Grandchild
- Hal, Grandchild
- Martha, Grandchild
- Dominic, Grandchild
- Gabe, Grandchild
- Max, Grandchild
- Ella, Grandchild
- John, Grandchild
- Ryan, Grandchild
- Jack, Grandchild
- Lucas, Grandchild
- Olivia, Grandchild
- Olivia, Grandchild
- Hank, Grandchild
- Maddie, Grandchild
- Joe, Grandchild
- Clara, Grandchild
- Zach, Step-grandchild
- Liza, Step-grandchild
- Jozeph, Step-grandchild
- Bella, Step-grandchild
- Sophie, Step-grandchild
- Camilla Mae, Great Grandchild
- Kenny Fisher (Susan), Brother
- David Fisher (Annette), Brother
- Paul Fisher (Beverly), Brother
- Ronald Fisher (Lenyr), Brother
- Alice Fisher Isaac (Joe), Sister
- Louise Fisher Blankenship (Charles), Sister
- Bobby Fisher (Dorothy), Brother
- William Benton Fisher, Father (deceased)
- Acenah Mills Fisher, Mother (deceased)
- Benton Fisher, Jr. (Betty), Brother (deceased)
- Nell Fisher Jones (Bill), Sister (deceased)
- Betty Fisher Short (Fred), Sister (deceased)
- Thomas Fisher (Claire), Brother (deceased)
- George Fisher (Jolena), Brother (deceased)
- Visitation with Friends and Loved Ones Friday, December 20, 2019
- The Memorial Service Saturday, December 21, 2019
Richard Dean Fisher
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December 21, 2019
Mr. Fisher was dad’s (Bobby Carter) dear friend and former Tennessee basketball teammate, They were Tootie and Soup Bean. He was so good to come by to visit Dad for years, especially after Dad was bedridden with MS, until Dad’s last days, always cheerful and sharing terrific stories new and old. He’d come by with his iPad, an article or story or photo to show Dad. He was one of the people I immediately thought of to speak at Dad’s memorial service. I remember him being proud of the work on the Bemis Museum and how happy he was to buy a home in Bemis again.
In a way, he’s partially responsible for my existence... While they were at UT and Dad was bragging about the pretty girls from Bristol, Mr. Fisher said that West Tennessee had girls just as pretty, and pointed out my mother as an example. The rest was history.
December 15, 2019
I first met Dick through Bobby Carter. Dick had a cabin on the river and all his class mates would met at his cabin and spend the weekend. Bobby Carter had MS and I would take him up there on the weekend.
This particular weekend all the guys were trying to watch a video and it was not working bear in mind all the guys were well educated . They could not get the video to work so Bobby told them to go get Sid so they did. I went down stairs and took one look at it and said it want work because it is unpluged.
Everytime I talked or saw Dick we would laugh about that. Dick was a great friend. I will miss him and so will alot of other people.
Thank you Dick for being a friend to all the people.
December 12, 2019
Sincere condolences to the immediate and extended Fisher family. My Uncle Richard was a childhood inspiration to me. I remember the pride his father (my grandfather) had in taking me to some of his high school basketball games. I’m not sure at all I would have played sports if not for those experiences. I have such fond memories of our visits to Bemis in the 1950s when Richard, David ,Kenny and Paul were still around home. I felt Richard always made a point to check in and stay in touch with my Mom (his sister Catherine Louise) who loved him very much. This was so much appreciated.
I am posting a photo from a Fisher reunion my cousin Steve took and provided to me. It must have been the early 1980s, I remember speaking with Aunt Janie after this pick up game. I love this picture of Richard, David, and Paul playing a pick up game with me. It felt like closing a circle and I was proud to be there with them.
December 10, 2019
Condolences to the Fisher and Via families. So sorry for your loss. He was a fine man. You are in the thoughts and prayers of the Capertons.
December 9, 2019
So glad I got to know you. You were a treasure trove of knowledge concerning Fisher family issues and the history of Bemis.
I wish I could ask you so many more questions.
Miss you already. Oklahoma sends their condolences and prayers of peace to the family.