Live stream link for funeral service. youtube.com/live/h1k6vmogHjE
Charles S. Fisher Jr. (May 2, 1928 - August 17, 2023)
Charles S. Fisher Jr. passed away peacefully on August 17, 2023, in Decatur, Illinois. Services will be Friday, August 25th the Ames First United Methodist Church (516 Kellogg Ave, Ames, Iowa). Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a memorial service at 11:00 a.m. followed by lunch and a private graveside service.
Charles (Chuck), the oldest child of Charles S. Fisher and Mildred R. (Speck) Fisher, was born in Vinton, Iowa. With his parents and younger sister, Mardene, Chuck grew up on farms around Garrison, Iowa. In those days before rural electrification, water was pumped by hand or windmill, a kerosene lamp lit the way to bed, a wood stove heated the house, and the "facilities" were out back. A tractor was present for essential farm jobs, but lesser chores like hauling feed and supplies were left to the pair of draft horses Chuck learned to manage at an early age.
Through the 8th grade, Chuck attended school in a classic one-room country schoolhouse, Monroe No. 6, the same schoolhouse featured in Mildred Armstrong Kalish's book, Little Heathens. Chuck, being some five years younger than Ms. Kalish, was one of the many anonymous "little kids" in the book. High school was in nearby Dysart, Iowa. Recreation, in those rare moments when he wasn't helping with farm chores, included hunting, fishing, and trapping. Also a few youthful hi-jinks involving rifles, a telephone line, a Model A, dynamite, and a tree stump. In spite of this, Chuck graduated from Dysart High School in May 1945, just days after his 17th birthday.
After high school, Chuck attended South Dakota State College in a one-year Army Reserve Specialized Training program. Called to active duty in 1946 as part of a military government company, he was shipped--shipped being the operative word as transportation was a WWII liberty ship configured for troop transport--to Korea. Being susceptible to motion sickness, Chuck didn't fully appreciate the leisurely Pacific cruise the army provided him. In Korea, through an odd set of circumstances best characterized as "only in the army", Corporal Fisher found himself the Military Governor of Suwon and neighboring Anyang. Suwon was then an ancient regional capital 20 miles south of Seoul. Today it is a thriving metropolis of over one million hosting the headquarters of a little company called Samsung.
Back in the states well before hostilities broke out on the Korean peninsula, Chuck was discharged from the Army in June 1947. Thanks to the benefits of the GI Bill, he attended Iowa State College (now University) through the spring of 1950, graduating with a B.S. in Agriculture.
Chuck put his education to good use as a soil classifier for the USDA's Bureau of Reclamation, and later the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), in South Dakota. Pheasants were hunted in the fall and life-long friendships formed. Even fifty years later, a series of reunions of the South Dakota "Hole Diggers" were well attended.
Near-tragedy altered the direction of Chuck's life in 1954. His father suffered a heart attack and Chuck returned to Garrison to tend farm while his father recuperated. While home, Chuck's sister, Mardene, set him up on a date with her friend Phyllis. In the spring of 1955, with his father sufficiently recovered, Chuck returned to a job with the SCS in Storm Lake, Iowa, a bit closer to his parents and Phyllis, who "coincidentally" found a teaching job in nearby Fonda. Chuck and Phyllis were married in Storm Lake on December 3, 1955. They remained married, and very much in love, for over 60 years.
Still with the Soil Conservation Service, Chuck and Phyllis moved to Spencer, Iowa in the spring of 1958. Son David was born in 1959 and son Dennis followed in 1961. In their younger years, the boys had trouble grasping the concepts of soil classification and mapping, so when asked what their father did for a living, they cheerfully replied: "He digs dirt."
Advancement brought Chuck and family to Ames, Iowa in November of 1962. The family enjoyed Ames High football games on crisp fall evenings, Iowa State basketball and wrestling in the old Armory, and of course the annual Veishea parades. They frequented the abundant Ames parks and explored nearby Ledges State Park. Summer vacations took them to the Wisconsin Dells, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the mountains of Colorado, and of course the iconic cross-country trip to Disneyland.
Promotions took Chuck and his family to Ankeny, Iowa in 1971 and then Okemos, Michigan in 1977. Chuck retired as the SCS State Soil Scientist for Michigan in April 1985. Though they both grew to love Michigan, retirement saw Chuck and Phyllis return to Ames, closer to family. Coming full circle, their new home in Ames was less than a block from the boys' old grade school.
In retirement, Chuck maintained the house, gardened, fished, and most of all golfed. Innumerable rounds brought him familiarity with every blade of grass and undulation on the beautiful little nine-hole Homewood course. He also served on the board of the Ames First United Methodist Church, fitting for a man whose grandfather was a Methodist (Evangelical United Brethren) minister.
When mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and general household maintenance became more than they wanted to deal with, Chuck and Phyllis became founding members of the Windsor Oaks Senior Living Community in Ames. Living in Windsor Oaks made it easier for them to be "snowbirds", spending parts of several winters in Texas, Southern California, Florida, and Arizona. Chuck served on the Windsor Oaks board for many years, his presence prized for his calm, reasonable attitude.
A few years after Phyllis's passing, a final move took Chuck to Decatur, Illinois, where son Dennis could watch over him.
Chuck was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Mildred, his sister Mardene Wilson, and Phyllis, his loving wife and best friend of 60 years. He is survived by his sons David (Kristine) and Dennis (Peggy), beloved granddaughters Erin and Lauren, and many cherished nieces, nephews, and extended family.
In lieu of flowers, Chuck would ask you to contour a slope, save an old barn, plant a garden, or read a story to a child.
Online condolences may be directed to www.grandonfuneralandcremationcare.com
A lovely tribute, loved seeing the family photos as well. A good, kind, intelligent man much like my own Dad (his cousin.) Our sympathy and best wishes from the Jensens. - Jerri Jensen
I always called you Uncle Chuck because you were an Uncle to me ! Thank you for all you taught me. Thank you for all the talks, working outside and the Iowa State Fair.
David and Dennis and families,
My heartfelt sympathies to you all on your beloved dad, grandpa, and great granddad, etc.
Chuck, was such a special senior being the last original owners of our independent living sr. complex!
He had such a pleasant personality, outstanding pool player where he wanted to be the chamption 1 more time! I believe he won 5 times in the 20+ years he/your late mom lived here.
When I moved here 6 years ago, Chuck said to me, "why did you move here Betty, we're 20 years OLDER than you are?"
Because I loved my apt. layout and the warm, friendly folks who live here.
I'm glad you had 1-2 years with him living closer to you in the Chicago area. He was a true asset here. RIP CHUCK.
Betty Gordon, Ames Windsor Oaks resident
David, Kristine, Dennis, Peggy, Erin and Lauren,
Those who have shown us love, brought us joy and made us laugh, have given us lasting gifts of a beautiful life - and blessed our memories forever. Uncle Chuck was a special person indeed! May his memories be a blessing to us until we meet again. With love & heartfelt sympathy from OR, Mary
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Ames, Iowa 50010
Ames, Iowa 50010