Friday, June 14, 2013

William Fisher Obituary

William Fisher 1928- 2013

William Fisher, of Old Chatham, New York, retired journalist and international development consultant, died at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on June 11th, 2013. He was eighty-four.

He is survived by his daughters Victoria Fisher of New Marlborough, Massachusetts, Julie Fisher of Ashfield, Massachusetts, a son in law, Ronald Gorevic of Ashfield; and a granddaughter, Kezia, of Ashfield.

Bill Fisher was born in Brooklyn, New York, and attended schools there. He was graduated from Stetson University, Deland, Florida, in 1950, with a major in journalism. He served as President of the Florida Intercollegiate Press Association, and was editor of the college newspaper, The Reporter.

He served in the U.S. Army Military Police during the Korean War, 1950-52.

Fisher's early work life combined his two loves-newspaper writing and jazz. He worked his way through college playing jazz piano, preparing arrangements, and conducting a thirteen-piece swing band. Soon he added newspaper reporting to his schedule, landing a job as cub reporter on the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

He returned to the News-Journal in 1952 as a Bureau Chief, at which time he also began reporting for The Associated Press. Fisher was also the first white correspondent of the Baltimore Afro-American, for which he wrote a series of investigative articles dealing with police corruption and racial bigotry in Central Florida.

In the mid 1950's, Fisher began a career designing and managing public relations programs for not-for-profit organizations in the hospitals, health, and welfare fields. His clients included Montefiore Hospital, the New York Citizens Committee for Children, CARE, and the Korean-American Foundation. He subsequently formed his own public relations firm in New York City.

In 1961, Fisher was recruited by the John F. Kennedy White House to join the Administration as a speech writer and public affairs specialist. He served as a member of the White House Committee on Trade Expansion.

Following the death of president Kennedy, Fisher joined a major New York public relations firm, and moved to London to head the firm's first international office.

In 1973, he formed his own public relations firm in London, and joined his wife, the late Florence Zucker Fisher, in founding Environmental Resources Ltd. (ERL), the first environmental consulting firm outside the United States. ERL won several Queen's Awards for service to Her Majesty.

In the mid 1980's, Fisher began yet another career in international development. He served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and the U.S. State Department; and managed economic development programs in more than a dozen countries in North and sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia.

Over the last few years of Fisher's semi-retirement, he reported on political and economic issues for various internet publications.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to The Innocence Project, Reporters Without Borders, or the Columbia County Humane Society.