Shepherd professor honored
A memorial service for Frederick Ethan Fischer was held Saturday, July 9 at the Presbyterian Meetinghouse on Washington Street in Shepherdstown.
Nearly 200 people came to pay their respects and to remember their friend who died on June 17.
Fischer taught poetry, English and creative writing as an adjunct professor at Shepherd University. An accomplished poet and writer, he would hold classes during the summers in the park to teach children about reading and writing poetry.
At the Rumsey Radio Hour, Fischer was known and loved for his “Johnny Dime the Poet of Crime” performances.
“Ethan was through and through an artist. Money was never his priority. He got his clothes at thrift stores and from hand-me-downs. Deadlines were never his thing,” Fischer’s wife, Ushi, said. “If Fischer had any vanity, it was over his hats. He had 15 or 20 hats, and he always knew which one he was going to wear that day and who gave it to him.”
The Rev. Randy Tremba officiated at the service. Tremba worked with Fischer on the Rumsey Radio Hour as well as with many other projects.
“Every other person thinks they’re a poet. Ethan was a poet,” Tremba said.
Friends and co-workers of Fischer recited many of his poems during the service. His students, friends and those that worked with him spoke of him and his easygoing manner. His daughter Karen Fischer told of how he would read bedtime stories.
“He just didn’t read the story. He would act out all of the characters. I remember him reading ‘Brer Rabbit.’ Not only did he give voice to Brer Rabbit, but also he would do the voices of all the other characters in the story. I’ll remember that the rest of my life,” she said.
Following the memorial service, a New Orleans-style procession to Carlos Niederhauser and Liz Wheeler’s home on South Princes Street took place, where a reception was held.