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Obituary for William Edward Fischer

William Edward Fischer
September 25, 1927-February 26, 2017

William "Bill" Fischer – good listener, great golfer, U.S. Army veteran, lifelong Cubs fan, and lover of ketchup – died on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the ripe old age of 89.

His life was a reflection of the things he loved most. He took up golf as a young man, played at the University of Notre Dame, and didn't stop playing until his health absolutely required it. He belonged to the Flint Elks Club for nearly forty years, where he taught all four of his kids to play the game before their tenth birthdays. He played with the same set of clubs until he was 50 years old – heavy as iron with threadbare grips. He won at least one club championship with those clubs. He eschewed fancy golf clothes – really, fancy clothes of any kind – and the golf bag he carried was a relic of an earlier age. To him, the equipment you carried were trappings; the attitude you played with was what was most important. His last round was played with his kids at the Fort Lauderdale Country Club on October 18, 2015 – still hit the ball pretty well, still couldn't putt worth a damn.

His love for kids was extraordinary – and not just his own kids, Daniel, Dee Dee, Matt, and Mike. But virtually all kids. He was the dad at the pool that gave kids rides on his back while he swam the length of the pool underwater without once taking a breath. He was the dad that showed up at every sporting event that his sporty kids played in – the hockey games, the basketball games, volleyball matches, the swim meets – swim meets! Is there anything more boring than swim meets? – and yet, he went to, and cheered at, every one.

He was always surrounded by strong women. He loved his mother, Olive; laughed with his sisters, Betty Lou and Norma; married and parented with his ex-wife, Anne; and found his soul mate at the age of 60 in the late, great, Vera Arnholdt of Frankenmuth, Michigan.

His idiosyncrasies were legendary. He ate Ritz crackers with cheddar cheese and a dollop of ketchup. He loved vanilla ice cream, chili dogs, diet coke, and meatloaf sandwiches – sometimes, all at the same time. His sartorial style set him apart. For work as a salesman, he preferred sansabelt slacks and short sleeve dress shirts; around the house, he liked paint-flecked pants and an old golf shirt. To protect himself against the Michigan winters, he would wear a large hooded down jacket, preferably flapping open, and unzipped ankle boots with no socks. He disliked watches or rings, or really jewelry of any kind. He hated elevators and airplanes, even on Xanax. He would pay a quarter for a good foot-rub. He pretended he hated dogs but the dogs knew otherwise.

But ultimately, it was his humanity that truly defined him. He could, and would, talk to anyone, about just about anything – although sports were clearly his favorite topic. He made time for people, and was rarely in a hurry; he never wore a watch or owned a cell phone, so you would never catch him checking either. He made lots of mistakes in his own life, as he would be the first to admit, and it gave him boundless empathy, and patience too. Simply stated, he had the most gentle of souls and the hugest of hearts, and he will be missed by those who love him until the end of time.

Bill asked to be cremated, with his ashes to be spread on his favorite hole at the Flint Elks Club golf course. His wishes will be carried out at a memorial service to be held on May 28, 2017. Further details on the service will be announced as they become available.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the National Parkinson's Foundation, to help eradicate the disease that killed Bill, or to the Alzheimer's Association, to help wipe out the disease that killed the love of his life, Vera Arnholdt.


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