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Memories of my dad
About a week before Father’s Day, my family met at Itasca State Park to celebrate the holiday. On the holiday itself, I called my dad, wished him a happy Father’s Day and talked with him. A couple days later dad went into the hospital for his heart, unfortunately he never came home and died on July 4, about a week before his 72nd birthday.
The trip back to Thief River Falls seemed to be one of the longest I’ve made back there. Even though I had the radio on, it seemed quiet. During the week I was there my family and dad’s many friends shared memories. My dad, Jim Fisher, was a very active person, both in our hometown of Thief River Falls and with the many trips he made. Dad was involved with many organizations either through church or civic groups. He was a member of the Elks, which often had banquets for fathers and their sons and daughters. He was a foster grandparent at St. Bernard’s School. He was involved in the Boy Scouts of America. As the assistant and then scoutmaster of Troop 199 he and my mom guided my two brothers and I through the ranks. All three of us earned our Eagle Scout rank, the highest honor in Boy Scouts. Our sister earned the Gold Award, the highest rank in Girl Scouts. Dad was honored for his leadership in scouting with the Silver Beaver Award.
One of the things he was most passionate about was downhill skiing and he taught his four children and several others through ski trips. When I was a boy of three he taught me by putting me on small skis, placing me in front of him and then holding onto me as he would slowly go down the hill, making small turns. Once I learned to do that myself he would let me go on my own, but keeping a watchful eye on me.
The ski area my family did most of our early skiing at was a small place called Timberlaine, outside of Red Lake Falls. It had rope tows and a small ski lodge. Many of my memories are about ski trips we took around the state from Bemidji to Duluth, around the Twin Cities and in Wisconsin. There were also many trips out to Montana and a few in Wyoming. These included days of skiing at Bridger Bowl, Red Lodge and Grand Targhee. During the last few years dad would come visit me around my birthday and we would go skiing. Sometimes to Buck Hill or another ski area relatively close.
It was through his actions that I realized the type of person I wanted to be. Someone who cared for family and friends and who worked to help improve the community. Someone who stood by his convictions, but kept an open mind.
When I moved to New Prague in 1999, dad made a trip to see the community. He looked around and saw how it was a growing area. He told me I had made a good choice. I realized that then and have realized it even more with the people who had asked how he was doing and now with their condolences, which have been greatly appreciated.
We often made phone calls to catch up on what was happening in our lives. I would tell him what was the latest story I was working on or visits with friends, he would let me know about what he or the rest of the family was doing. We often ended those conversations with three words I love you.