Bob Fisher’s impact on the world will never be duplicated

Bob Fisher’s impact on the world will never be duplicated

My earliest memory of Bob Fisher was seeing him courtside at my high school basketball games back then.

My favorite memory of Fish comes from our time on the golf course.

And I will never forget the last time I saw him.

Fish passed away last Thursday after a long illness during which he fought like a true champion. His influence on the world will be felt for a very, very long time.

Bob was a freelance sportswriter for News Journal for 33 years and that’s where I first met him. He covered a few of my games when I played high school basketball and it was always a pleasure to see him walk in with his bag brimming with pens and different colored markers. The guy had a different color for each denomination he could take. I remember years later when we were working on the News Journal All-Star Classic together and he put his bag down next to him. I looked in there and swore there were still some pens and markers in there when I played ten years ago.

But my family’s connection to Bob began long before I was born. My dad played slow pitch softball with Bob in the 80’s. Bob was more of a manager back then, but one weekend Bob went out and bought a brand new racquet for the team. He had my dad use it for a weekend tournament and he blasted about eight homers in those two days. At the end of the tournament, Bob took home the team trophy and gave the racquet to my dad.

He was that kind of guy. Ready to give, give and give and never expect a single thing in return.

My mother went to Mansfield Business College, where Bob held various positions throughout his career. So they knew each other from back then and got back together when she went to softball tournaments statewide.

Not long ago, Bob was in my summer golf league at Woody Ridge Golf Course. And I will never forget our round of golf together. I would like to say that I only putted once on seven of the nine greens we played that day. I played the round of my life and Bob was my opponent. I took a lot of points from him and as a competitor Bob could easily have gotten upset, thrown his bats in the car and driven home.

I know I would have.

Instead, Bob stayed in the clubhouse and told everyone and everyone who walked through the door the story of my putting, which I have yet to repeat. He spoke like he was proud even though he dropped all those points.

He was that kind of guy. Loved celebrating other people’s achievements instead of looking out for themselves.

Then came the last time I ever saw him. I stood on the sidelines waiting for kick-off for the week 1 Shelby football game at Skiles Field, the last game ever played at that venue. There were rumors that Bob would go to the sidelines that day. I knew he was struggling with health issues and I was really excited to see him, but I didn’t really expect him to remember me.

As I approached, a huge grin spread across his face. And I will never forget that. He shook my hand, asked how everything was going at News Journal, asked how his buddy Spence (Jon Spencer) was doing, and went on to say how happy he was to see me.

The joy on the other side of the handshake couldn’t have been greater when I was to see it. When News Journal’s sports reporter position opened up five years ago, Bob was the one who alerted me. I couldn’t believe I was the first person that came to mind when he saw there was going to be an opening. That’s really humbling.

But that was Bob. Always wanting to put others in a better position than they are.

And he’s always wanted to bring joy to people, whether it’s through his writing for News Journal or the unique DJ/minister package he offered for weddings. The guy might make you go down the cha-cha slide after making you say “yes, I do” when he marries the love of your life.

I mean how much happier could you possibly be made?

And it showed in everyone who loved him. I regularly looked forward to seeing Facebook updates that his daughter Bekah DeEtta would post about her results after the round of golf. He regularly held up the card proudly when he took home the win and posed with a scowl when he lost, but deep down you could tell how proud he was that his daughter had picked up the game that he loved.

But Bob has never been more proud than when he gets to bring his wife, Vicki, to the News Journal All-Star Classic banquet every year. Married for 33 years, you could tell how proud he was to have her by his side. It almost overtook the pride he had for Michigan football. Nearly.

The world will definitely look different without the old fish. The guy was an absolute gem. And he will be missed.

My condolences to the whole Fischer family.

And, Bob, I expect you to lead some of those putts in the cup this summer. I will thank you if you do.

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Twitter: @JakeFurr11

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