Former Roanoke Mayor Mike Fisher passed away suddenly last Wednesday due to complications from COVID-19. He was 72 years old.
His death sparked an outpouring of sympathy and warm memories from members of the community, many of whom knew him as a lifelong contributor to the Randolph County and Roanoke communities.
Fisher served as mayor of the City of Roanoke for 12 years, was director of the recreation department in Roanoke for 32 years, and was a partner in the 2 Guys and a Girl business since 2012.
"Roanoke City Schools lost an avid supporter and I lost a friend," said Roanoke City Schools Superintendent Chuck Marcum. "Fish was one of the first people I met when I moved to Roanoke over 30 years ago. We immediately began a friendship that has been a great blessing in my life. He was genuinely as nice of a person as I have ever known. We will all miss Fish, Coach Fisher, Mayor Fisher or however you referred to him."
Fisher also spent many years as the color commentator on radio broadcasts of Handley High School football, alongside former play-by-play man Don Strength.
"So many memories were made as we traveled across the South," Strength said. "It didn't matter where we were, Fish would always make a friend and run into someone he knew no matter where we traveled. My brother has traveled to his final destination where he will certainly dwell in the house of the Lord."
Roanoke resident Benji Whaley, who is the president of Roanoke Quarterback Club, also shared his grief at Fisher's passing.
"There's never been a better friend to my family over the years than Mike Fisher," Whaley said. "I could tell you thousands of stories about him. Every single one of them would put a smile on your face too ... As far back as I can remember he was a dedicated citizen of Roanoke, Ala. He loved Roanoke. Tremendously. To many he was a friend, but to me he was family."
After Fisher was voted out of the mayor's office last fall, he graciously stepped aside and made an intentional effort to make the transition an easy one for incoming Mayor Jill Hicks.
Councilmember Mike Parmer reported Fisher's illness at the council meeting Dec. 21, and less than two weeks later, that illness had claimed Fisher's life.
The council held a moment of silence for Fisher at Monday's meeting, and Hicks discussed the possibility of honoring him in a lasting way. One of the ideas mentioned is to name the Roanoke Recreation Center after him, but no official decision was made.
Fisher's obituary can be found on Page 4A.