William Leonard Fischer, 73Published 11:38am Monday, May 27, 2013
Born: Aug. 18, 1939
Died: April 22, 2013
William “Bill” Leonard Fischer of Evanston Illinois, 73, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones on April 22, 2013. He was born August 18, 1939 in South Bend Indiana to Leslie Henry and Merle Tregoning Fischer. His childhood years were spent in Niles Michigan where he graduated from Niles High School in 1957. In 1962, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University and served in the US Army in Korea 1962-1964. He earned a Master of Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary (1968) and shortly thereafter was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister.
Bill loved music (played the guitar, banjo and loved to sing folk music), computers & gadgets, motorcycles, sailing and, most importantly, people. These loves guided his varied career path that ranged from Presbyterian minister, to alcoholism counselor, to computer programmer and manager. Then in retirement, back to minister in the form of wedding officiant and volunteer chaplain.
Upon being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in March, 2008, Bill was a great inspiration to many as he made a deliberate choice to live the rest of his life being positive. His mantra became “happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy.” Those who knew him would agree that he was anything but sick and disabled – he exuded inner strength and a continued passion for life and connecting with people. The Unitarian Church of Evanston was Bill’s treasured community, and that community sustained him with visits, phone calls, meals and enduring love during his 5-year journey with ALS.
Likewise, the Les Turner ALS Foundation was key in supporting and encouraging Bill and his family. Bill and his beloved partner of 20 years, Renee, were regulars for over 4 years at monthly Les Turner ALS support group meetings where they developed deep and wonderful relationships.
Bill’s final week was spent on the MICU floor of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The incredible medical staff there tried to fight off the pneumonia that ravaged within him, but it was not meant to be. Jointly with his family, he made the decision to have life support removed and he was surrounded by loved ones when he peacefully died.
He is survived by his life partner Renee D. Hoff of Evanston Illinois, children Rebecca Ann Fischer of Evanston Illinois, Benjamin Paul Fischer and wife Kelly Pollington of Westmont Illinois, childrens’ mother Hildegard Richter Fischer of Oak Park Illinois, sister Mary Eda Fischer and husband James M. Lamoreaux of Anchorage Alaska, and two nieces, Sarah Brazo and Amy Lanam also of Alaska.
A service celebrating his life will be held Saturday June 8, 2pm at the Unitarian Church of Evanston. It was Bill’s request that memorials be made to either the Unitarian Church of Evanston Bill Fischer Memorial Fund, 1330 Ridge Ave, Evanston, IL 60201 or to the Les Turner ALS Foundation, 5550 W Touhy Ave #302, Skokie, IL 60077.