John C. "Jack" Fischer, age 94, passed away at James River Rehabilitation Center on August 6, 2014. Jack was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 3, 1920, the son of Mary and Oscar Fischer. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Barbara Gainer, and his dear wife Emogene "Jean". He is survived by son, Andy Fischer and wife Kristie, their two sons, Zach and Adam, Zach's son Tyler and Adam's son Christian "Fuzzy"; son John "Chris" and his children, Amy, Aaron and Austin; son Peter "Pete" and his sons, Jesse and Jacob; and daughter and son-in-law Sally and David Rogers and their sons Nathan and Matthew.
At an early age Jack moved to Springfield. He attended St. Agnes High School and played on its first football team in 1937. He later attended SMS and Drury.
Jack developed an interest in flying as a teenager. He attended flight school at Springfield Flying Service at the downtown airport when he was 21. From there he applied and was accepted by the Army Air Corps as Aviator Cadet. He received his initial training at the Army Air Corps Training Center at Stockton, California and his heavy bomber training in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Shortly after completing his flight training he was called to active duty and left for Saipan in the Marianas in his B-29, serving in the 874th Squadron of the 73rd Bombardment Wing. Departing from San Francisco, he flew his B-29 under the Golden Gate Bridge and headed west. Like most B-29's his plane was adorned with some nose art. A pretty lady with the name "Maiden's Prayer." Jack and his crew of ten flew numerous low-level bombing raids over Japan during a four month period in the spring and early summer of 1945, dropping incendiary bombs. Each of these missions was a 3,000 mile round trip and was fraught with danger. Many of the B-29's in his squadron were lost to enemy fire, mechanical problems or had to ditch on the way back because they were out of fuel. Jack and his crew were very fortunate to survive the war. Ironically, he was able to fly his B-29 back under the Golden Gate Bridge on his return to the states. Due to the bravery and sacrifice of Jack, his crew and men like them during WWII, Americans today enjoy unprecedented freedom and prosperity. These men earned the privilege of being called "The Greatest Generation".
After the war, Jack reenlisted in the Air Force in 1947 and made it his career. One of his first assignments was Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska. While there he flew a daring rescue mission to the North Pole in a C-47 with skis. Six of the men who worked on his weather crew were stranded at a weather station and the ice was melting and breaking up around them. Jack landed his plane on the treacherous ice and picked up his men. As he was taking off he said he could hear the ice breaking up under the skis on the plane.
Jack and his family were stationed at a number of different bases during his career, including Sewart AFB in Tennessee, Rhein Main AFB in Frankfurt, Germany, and his last assignment, Seymour Johnson AFB, in North Carolina. During his tenure in the Air Force, Jack studied Meteorology and became a Meteorologist. While stationed at Seymour Johnson in 1962, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for accurately predicting the weather for planes participating in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Jack remained in the Air Force until his retirement as a Lt. Colonel in 1964. After his retirement, he and his family moved back to Springfield. Since he was only 44 at the time, he couldn't completely retire, so he started a building maintenance company which he successfully operated until 1985.
You always knew where you stood with Jack. He parented with a stern but gentle hand. He was devout in his faith. He was a man of quick wit and dry sense of humor who always appreciated a good joke. He was the epitome of style and an impeccable dresser. A handsome, elegant man whose charisma and presence filled the room.
He attended every sporting event or school function whenever his kids or grandkids participated. He was an avid sportsman who taught his children numerous sports as well as hunting and fishing. He was also a frog catcher extraordinaire. He leaves a legacy of children and grandchildren who loved him dearly. He will be sorely missed.
Special thanks to the medical staff who cared for him at Mercy Hospital, James River Rehabilitation Center for the past six weeks, as well as Hospice Compassus. Also, special thanks to his longtime companion, Mary Sheppard. There is little doubt that her love and companionship added at least ten years to his life. We love you Mary.
Funeral mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 13, 2014 in St. Joseph Catholic Church under the care of Gorman-Scharpf Brentwood Chapel. Burial with full military honors will follow in Hazelwood Cemetery. A prayer service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the funeral home, with visitation to follow until 7:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to
, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to The Kitchen, 1630 North Jefferson, Springfield, MO 65803.
Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home
1947 E. Seminole Springfield, MO 65804
Published in the News-Leader from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12, 2014