Frederick T. Fisher Frederick T. Fisher

Frederick T. Fisher at the age of 68 of Whitehall, PA who had been recovering from stomach surgery done in November 2017 at a nursing home in Quakertown, PA died of pneumonia on May 8, 2018 at St. Luke’s University Hospital-Bethlehem, PA.

Since the age of 25, Fred had serious medical problems and recently his health was declining more rapidly since his diagnosis of Vascular Dementia in 2016. After living in Somerville, MA near Boston for 30 years, he and his wife Kathryn C. Fisher moved to Whitehall, PA in December 2015 so Kathy’s sister Claire Cole could help Kathy care for Fred. Fred was born on December 5, 1949 as the oldest child of the late Rev. Oral F. Fisher and Betsy P. Fisher. He has two younger sisters. His father was a Methodist minister. After spending his early years in Cameron, NY and Genesee, PA, Fred grew up in Buffalo, NY. He loved going on summer car trips with his family where they visited many national parks in the U.S. During high school, he sang and danced in some high school musicals and was a runner. Fred also became an exchange student and lived with a family in Brazil for one year. He learned to speak Portuguese and loved being in Brazil very much. Living in Brazil was a high point in his life. Fred graduated from Kenmore West Senior High School and then went on to graduate from NYU with a BA in History, a Masters in Latin American History from Tulane University and a Masters in Library Science from SUNY at Geneseo. When he was a grad student at Tulane in New Orleans, Fred was diagnosed with brain cancer after having severe headaches and a seizure. After surviving his brain surgery back in Buffalo and completing his chemo and radiation treatments, Fred was able to return to graduate from Tulane. About five years later, Fred found out for the first time that he had been born with a genetic disease called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) that causes lumps to form under the skin or in different organs of the body like the brain, the heart, and the kidneys. The lump in his brain had been caused by his TSC and needed to be removed but was never brain cancer and didn’t require him to receive chemo and radiation treatments. After Library school, Fred had library jobs in Gainesville, FL, in Boston, MA, and in Cambridge, MA where he worked at Harvard University’s Law School Library. It was in Cambridge, MA at First Parish in Cambridge Unitarian Universalist Church that Fred met and married his wife Kathryn Cole Fisher. They were married by Fred's father, Reverend Oral F. Fisher. Their wedding day in 1984 was the happiest day in both their lives and their love for each other continued for 33 years. Fred had to leave his job at Harvard Law School Library when he suffered three strokes. His strokes had been caused by the radiation his received on his brain after his brain surgery back in 1974. That radiation had weakened the blood vessels in his brain. He survived his three strokes and kept his ability to walk and to talk but they affected the entire right side of his body. He was left with low energy, short term memory problems, swallowing problems, poor balance, and his speech was completely changed. After his strokes, Fred loved working part-time at the Somerville Public Library shelving books but had to leave when his next health problem appeared. In 2006, he received another setback when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (cancer) but survived after a year of chemotherapy. He also had skin cancer bumps removed two different times. Like his parents, Fred wanted peace and social justice and a clean environment for the world. He went to many peace marches and rallies and belonged to groups that opposed the Vietnam War and U.S. intervention in Central America. He became a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He volunteered at (MAPS) the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, at (DRCLAS) the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, and at (LASPAU) the Latin American Scholarship Program for American Universities which is affiliated with Harvard and promotes higher education throughout the Americas. He worked to build and bring a new union to Harvard University: HUCTW, Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. Fred and Kathy directed The Tuesday Meals Program at First Parish in Cambridge for its first couple years which feeds hungry people. At First Parish, Fred loved listening to sermons, ushering, coffee hour after church, and going to church potlucks. He believed in the need for affordable, good public transportation and never owned a car while living in the Boston area. He and his wife took trains when they visited their family in other states. Since Fred was a pedestrian, he not only recycled what he and his wife used at home, he collected whatever he found when walking or riding the bus or the subway and brought it home to be recycled. Fred loved watching TV: the weather, the news, history and archaeology and travel shows on PBS and concerts. Fred loved music very much since he was a child. He loved many kinds of music: from Beethoven to Cole Porter to Hank Williams to Jimi Hendrix. He had an incredible music memory and knew after hearing just a few seconds of a piece of music whether he’d ever heard it before. His strokes never diminished his gift. Fred had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. Many things made him laugh: Mad Magazine, Leave It to Beaver on TV, Arthur on PBS, The Three Stooges, and all kinds of cartoons and cartoon books. His top favorite was The Simpsons. Fred loved going to Walt Disney World 2 times and going to Camp Cole every summer where he had lots of fun and heard such great music by his in-laws, Dave and Marie Cole. Fred was very smart, curious, could speak Spanish and Portuguese, genuine, thrifty, responsible, hardworking, fun loving, kind, generous, and funny. A very lovable great guy. He was also very brave and faced many years of medical appointments, tests, and times in the hospital with great courage. One of his accomplishments was making it to the age of 68 despite his many major health problems. What Fred loved most of all was spending time with his wife and family. Fred will live in their hearts forever.

Survivors: He is survived by his wife Kathryn C. Fisher, his sister Cynthia L. Reiffen of Great Cacapon, WV, his sister Sharon Fisher of Philadelphia, PA and his nephews and nieces: Ben Reiffen, Lisa Reiffen, Sachi Kobayashi and Orion Kobayashi and also by Ben’s son Leo Reiffen who is Fred’s great nephew.

Services: The immediate family will be gathering at a later date to celebrate Fred’s life. Arrangements by J.S. Burkholder Funeral Home, Inc., Allentown, jsburkholder.com.

Contributions: Memorial contributions can be made to Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, 801 Roeder Road, Suite 750, Silver Spring, MD 20910, www.tsalliance.org, or the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley, 399 Market St., Suite 102, Philadelphia, PA 19106, or the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, 5455 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43214.

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