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OBITUARY | Gerhardt “Gary” B. Fisher, 84, of West Bend, WI

West Bend, WI – Gary Fisher passed away peacefully in his sleep May 5, 2024 after being diagnosed in February with pancreatic cancer.
Born October 2, 1939, to Doris Ann (Kumrow) & Bernard Joseph Fisher in West Bend, he grew up in the heart of West Bend – his home was located where the current West Bend Fire Station sits (Hwy 33 and 7th Ave.). Gary was bedridden for a year but survived Polio, graduating with West Bend High School class of 1958.

gary

In 1959 he enlisted in the Wisconsin Army Air National Guard and was ordered to Active Duty by Executive Order and flew helicopters at Fort Lewis serving in Washington state during the Berlin Crisis. 1965 saw Gary become the first in his family to graduate from college earning a B.S. in Geography/History from UW Oshkosh.

Gary met the love of his life at their 5th High School Class Reunion. They married two years later and welcomed three children – Kathryn, Mark, and Jill.

Gary and Jan shared a mutual love of history and travel and took many family vacations all over the United States and, in retirement, world travel – enjoying 26 international trips, with their favorites being Ephesus Turkey, the wines in Argentina and Chile, a Russia river cruise thru Moscow and, their favorite, dancing into the 21st century at the Grand Ballroom in Vienna, Austria 2000.

September 2023 marked Gary and Jan’s final trip together, traveling with the German singer group, and their two granddaughters Grace and Kate, where they sang at the Wieskirche in Bavaria, visited the Sistine Chapel, sang at the Parthenon in Rome and at the Stiegl Brewery in Salzburg.

Professionally Gary worked as a buyer for JC Penney’s in New York City, then returned to Wisconsin and worked for B.C. Ziegler as a salesman and municipal bond underwriter in West Bend and office manager in Lansing Michigan.

In 1981 he began his financial advisor career at Blunt Ellis & Loewi (Kemper/Everen), joining Robert W. Baird in July 1995, where he finished his career as a Vice President of Investments – retiring “at just the right time” in August 2008.

Gary’s favorite part of the investment business was developing relationships with clients which spanned four generations. He enjoyed helping clients utilize their assets to achieve their financial goals supporting charities and funding their retirements. He especially enjoyed the deep conversations and relationships he developed over his 40 years in the investment business. it was hard to be out in public with him as he would always meet someone he knew and would need to stop and chat.

Gary served and volunteered on numerous state and local boards including WI UCC Board of Directors Investment Committee, Cedar Community Board, Treasurer of the Milwaukee Liedertafel (German Men’s Choir), and served on the West Bend Planning Commission. He was a Kiwanis Noon member. Gary enjoyed singing with the Milwaukee Liederkranz, traveling and singing in national competitions. Gary and Jan enjoyed being members at Carl Schurtz Park on Moose Lake in Stone Bank where they had many sheepshead card games and delicious meals with friends and family.

During his schooling, Gary learned to play the tuba and continued through his military service. In the mid-1980s he played his tuba with the RiverCity Irregulars community marching band. He eventually joined the River City Blaskapelle, singing in German, with his friend Terri Kramer along with playing the tuba.

Gary is survived by his wife Jan of over 58 years, daughter Kathryn, son Mark and wife Laura, and daughter Jill and husband Travis Stagg. seven grandchildren; Ashlee (Dr. Steve Johnston), Hillaree, Jonathan (Megan), Emilee (Anthony Ray), Grace, Kate, and Mia Davies, and four great-grandchildren Henry, Eleanor, George, and Cecilia Johnston. He is further survived by sisters-in-law Mary Fisher and Phyllis Penkwitz, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Gary is preceded in death by his parents, his in-laws Albert and Cecilia (Junk) Knoeck, his brother Thomas Fisher, brother-in-law Larry “Butch” Penkwitz, sister-in-law Mary (Ken) Michaels, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

The family would like to extend gratitude and thanks to Gary’s “favorite” nurse Grace, for her constant care and advocacy for her Opa, to his wonderful caregiver Kim for her compassionate care in the final weeks, and to Dr. Gary Herdrich, along with the caring neighbors who have helped them, and the numerous friends for their love, support, and prayers.

Funeral services will be held Monday, May 13, 2024, at 6 p.m. at Peace U.C.C., 343 1st Street in Kewaskum with Rev. Eric Kirkegaard officiating.

***Due to road construction please approach the church from the east. If coming from West Bend go north on Hwy 45 before turning east on Hwy H. Turn left (north) on either Oak Drive or Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive and travel to Hwy 28. Turn left (west) on Hwy and proceed to the church***

The family will greet visitors on Monday, at the church from 3:00 p.m. until 5:45 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to Gary’s home church Peace UCC Kewaskum or The Threshold which will go to enrich the lives of those with disabilities. Burial with military honors will take place on Tuesday in Washington County Memorial Park.

Schmidt Funeral Home

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