News Article on Pastor John's Passing : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

This article was reproduced from the Courier Times in Philadelphia.

John Fisher, writer, minister, musician dies By ELIZABETH FISHER The Intelligencer John Fisher wasn't afraid to try anything. Failure wasn't in his vocabulary.

Those were the words of his wife, Jan, spoken less than a day after her husband of 27 years died of an aneurysm.

Fisher, 53, was the sales director for Calkins Media's His death stunned family, friends and co-workers at The Intelligencer and Courier Times, where he worked for 31 years.

He also was an ordained minister and served since 1996 as pastor of the Bensalem Methodist Episcopal Church in Bensalem.

Fisher had been ill since Tuesday. He believed he had a sinus infection, but on Thursday morning, he collapsed at his home. He was taken to Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol Township, then rushed by helicopter to Philadelphia. He died about 7 p.m. Friday.

"Everybody from every aspect of his life embraced John," said Jan, as she sat with her daughter, Dorian, in the living room of their Bristol Borough home. "He was loved by everybody from the highest to the lowest."

Dorian described her father as a helpful man who especially enjoyed working with young people. She told an anecdote that she believes describes her father's care for others.

One day, the Fisher family was in a restaurant for dinner when they struck up a conversation with a young busboy.

"He was so nice and polite that my dad asked him if he was in school. When he said yes, my dad asked how his grades were," Dorian said.

When the youngster told Fisher he was trying to get on the honor roll, Fisher told him that, if he did, he'd get a "brand new" $50 bill, Dorian said.

Dorian was on her way to the restaurant Sarurday to tell the boy about her father's death.

John Fisher's mother, Doris, said she's coping as best she can with her son's death. Her remaining child is Jeffrey, John's younger brother.

"We were all so very close," Doris said.

Fisher's co-workers were stunned to learn from a Fisher family member Friday afternoon that John would not survive. His presence in the newsroom - then later in the corporate office - will not soon be forgotten, many said.

"John was, to me, a Renaissance man. He was a writer, a musician, a minister, a historian, a world traveler, a salesman and an Internet guru. That's in addition to being a loving father and husband," said Courier Times Publisher Art Mayhew.

When Fisher applied for the job as Internet salesman, Mayhew expressed his concerns about Fisher's lack of sales experience.

"I sold you on starting the Internet here, didn't I?" was Fisher's response.

Mayhew laughed; Fisher got the job.

In his early years at the paper, Fisher was a music writer whose "Inside the Rock" column became popular in the music world. He also played with several bands and eventually started his own, The John Fisher Band, which toured several nightspots entertaining fans.

He also reviewed big acts and could spot talent, said his former editor, Milt Krugman.

Krugman remembered Fisher's review of Christopher Cross, a native of San Antonio who sang at a Lower Bucks bar in the late 1970s. Fisher told readers Cross "can't miss," and predicted Cross' "star was going right to the top."

Cross later became known for his song "Sailing" and co-authored music with luminaries like Burt Bacharach, Peter Allen and Carole Bayer Sager.

"John knew talent when he saw and heard it," Krugman said.

In the 1980s, Fisher studied to become a minister and was ordained in May 1993 in the Bethel AME Church in Bristol Borough. He began his life as a preacher and, three years later, became pastor of the Bensalem church.

"It was his dream to have a rainbow (interracial) congregation. When the pastor left the Bensalem church, John found his chance," said the Rev. Langston Washington, Fisher's classmate and close friend.

Washington, pastor of a church in Kennett Square, said he was "devastated" by Fisher's death. He described his friend as a man who was just on the verge of making his mark in the world.

"He was absolutely devoted to serving his Lord. We had our ups and downs when we were studying for ordination, but John held on and he served well," Washington said.

Bensalem AME Church, built in 1816, found new energy with Fisher, who brought its membership from a handful up to 40 congregants.

"In our last conversation, he told me he was excited about his accomplishments. He felt he was definitely on his way," Washington said.

Pat Walker, executive editor of the Courier Times, remembers Fisher as a man whose smile filled the room and whose faith engulfed everyone he met.

"His gentle hand guided spirits and his depth of conviction spread over my soul. We've lost a truly great man," she said.

Elizabeth Fisher can be reached via e-mail at

March 30, 2003 7:54 AM

-- Anonymous, March 30, 2003


Thank you.

-- Anonymous, March 30, 2003

Thank you, Rev. Sheron Stocker, for the wonderful obituary written on the life of an AME giant, Rev. John Fisher.

As the proud pastor of Brooks Chapel A.M.E. Church in Butler, Missouri, which was founded in 1871, and which has only three (3) official members, I can easily relate to a Renaissance man who pastored a small church, as so many are, in our denomination. A mustard seed is also small, but that seed has great possibilities!

I must say, though, the article erred, when it said that Rev. John Fisher was on the verge of making his mark. He truly DID MAKE HIS MARK! These internet messages are by-products of his faith and of his vision!! In no other medium, to my knowledge, is our Zion so equipped to communicate, to share, to dream and to love, than in this forum, which his hard work and sacrifice engendered. He made his mark, in Jesus' name and all the Saints rejoice!

I did not know Rev. John Fisher. But, it is clear that he knew the Lord. He is therefore my brother. I extend my heartfelt condolonces to his family, to his co-workers, and to his congregation, and I thank our Lord for blessing us with such a genius, for that is what he literally was a genius.

Rev. John, sleep well, now! I'll see ya in the morning! One great gettin' up morning. Fare thee well! Fare thee well!

Rev. Dr. Larry D. Coleman

-- Anonymous, March 30, 2003

Dear Rev. Sister

Thank You for this information. God Bless You

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2003

Thank you Rev. Stocker for posting this wonderful article on our brother!

-- Anonymous, April 17, 2003

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