Ronald Dale Fisher
Oct 16, 1941
July 20, 2002
"His 'remains' are not in the
coffin ... ...your fond memories and love for him
are what remains"
Rev. Steve Ingram
Brother ... loving husband, father,
and grandfather ... Cub fan ... "walking miracle" ... auto
enthusiast (especially Chevys) ... did I mention Cub fan?
... Ronnie left us too soon. Four days after the photos
below, Ron had quintuple-bypass surgery. He survived the
surgery surprisingly well and returned home six days later.
I got to visit with him on July 4, but the next morning he
suffered a massive stroke due to a blood clot. Treatment was
difficult because of the recent surgery, and fifteen days
later another clot lodged in his heart. His family
surrounded him as he passed from this life, but his memory
lives on as long as we can tell his story.
Ron was already a teenager by the time
I first remember his trying to teach me baseball -- with a
plastic glove and a huge wooden softball bat! By the time I
was in grade school, he was working for Dad during the day,
sometimes working nights at General Cable in Monticello, and
spending the other evenings cruising -- in the 60's he had
three Corvairs (one a '66 Monza and one rare Corvair
side-ramp pickup!) Later he had a 427 SuperSport Caprice (or
was it an Impala?) loaded with accessories. (He said that's
what Jody liked most -- she said it was his hairy chest.)
The one I remember most was the 396 El Camino SS with the
chrome slotted wheels -- and that was his work truck!
Of course, we never did show him the
error of his ways by being a Cub fan, but there were plenty
of Cub-Cardinal games to discuss. I got to work with Ronnie
at "the shed" (that's another story) during the summers and
after school from the time I was 14 until Dad retired in
1973. Then Ron bought the business and he was my boss for
the next four years.
That almost came to an end in 1974,
though -- this is where the "walking miracle" part comes in.
After some severe storms in late May, Ronnie was on a ladder
with a chain saw cutting a large branch at my parent's
house. As I was steadying the ladder, Ron cut through the
branch -- and then it happened. As the branch was nearly
sawn through, it cracked and the "leafy" end, full of wet
leaves, started to bend down. As he finished the cut, the
rest of the branch followed it. As the leafy end reached the
ground, it bent, then recoiled and "sprung" the cut end back
toward us. It just missed, but left me holding two pieces of
broken ladder -- one on the ground and one in the air -- and
Ron was on the wrong end.
He fell in front of me, backside first
on the grass, but full force with his head on the sidewalk.
After six hours of surgery, we had little hope. The doctors
credited his good health and excellent physical shape (and a
lot of prayers) with saving his life. After a month in a
coma and nearly two months of mood swings and volatile,
unpredictable behavior, he -- as he said -- "woke up" and
wondered why the newspaper in his room said "August" when it
had just been May a day or two before. Less than two months
of physical therapy later, he was home.
Steadily, as more of his memory
returned, Ron even returned to the business. Some give me
credit for "running" the business while he was injured --
but I really didn't have a clue. Dad gets the credit for
guiding me; Jody gets the credit for sticking with it (both
Ronnie and business); and I learned from Ronnie what
determination really was. Although he now walked with a
slight limp, and sometimes slurred his speech (especially
when tired), Ron returned to everyday life -- following sons
Jerry and Jeff in sports, running a successful business, and
even a surprise -- daughter Jennifer was born in 1980!
Over the next twenty years, as we all
too often do, I moved away, got busy with life and we didn't
see as much of each other as we should have. We stayed "in
touch" -- but even the DeLand Homecoming or Christmases
didn't guarantee we'd see each other. Whenever we did,
though, we were never at a loss to hear the latest on
sports, kids, news, cars, trucks, the Cubs, or any other
subject he could talk about. Through the years, Ronnie
cultivated an active gift of gab.
I'm glad I got the chance to say "I
love you" to him before his open-heart surgery. I don't
think I'd ever spoken those words to him out loud before.
His passing won't stop me from saying it to him again.
I love you, Brother.