Charles O. Fisher

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  • "My deepest thoughts of sorrow go to you and your families...."
    - Robert Smith
  • "I believe Mr. Fisher was a teacher in one of my catechism..."
    - Thomas Joy
  • "To all of Mr. Fisher's family, especially Charlie, Jr, my..."
    - Gary Smith
  • "When I think of top lawyers that not only know their trade..."
    - Michael Goldstein
  • "Charles was a good friend of my family,he and my father..."
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Charles Osborne Fisher, 95, of Westminster, died Friday, June 22, 2012, at home after a brief illness.

Born June 15, 1917, in Washington, D.C., he was the son of the late Charles Nohe Fisher and Marie Therese Osborne. He was the husband of Margaret Gunther Fisher, his wife of 69 years, whom he married on a wartime weekend pass in November 1942, and who died in December 2011.

His family moved to Westminster in 1921. When he was old enough, he helped at his father's automobile salesroom by working with crews to push Model T Fords from the railroad station, up Main Street, to the showroom and assemble them for sale. The family lived across the street from the court house, the same home he lived in until his death. As a youngster, he attended trials, made friends with the lawyers and judges and helped maintain the lawyers' tennis court next to his home.

After graduating from St. John School in Westminster, he attended Loyola College, graduating in 1938. He attended University of Maryland Law School at night while employed as a social worker in the City of Baltimore. His schooling was interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the Army in 1941 and was discharged in 1946 as captain in the Signal Corps. He completed his legal education in 1947 and returned to Westminster, joining D. Eugene Walsh to form the firm Walsh and Fisher, which exists today.

After the war, he was admitted to the practice of law in 1946. He retired from practice in early 2012 after 65 years. His activities in service of his profession were ongoing and numerous. He was president of the Maryland State Bar Association, president and trustee of the Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers, president of the University of Maryland Law School Alumni Association, chairman of the Commission to Study the Judiciary of Maryland (the Fisher Commission) in 1982 and 1983, a charter member of the Commission on Judicial Disabilities and of the Clients' Security Trust Fund of the Bar of Maryland.

Beyond his professional activities, he also served his community. He was the last surviving member of a group of business and professional leaders who founded Carroll Hospital Center. He was a member of its board of directors from its opening in 1961 until his death, serving as chairman in 1969 and 1970. In November 2009, the hospital honored him with the dedication of the Charles O. Fisher Medical Office Building on its main campus. For 11 years he was chairman of the Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets rates for Maryland hospitals. He served as chairman of the Governor's Salary Commission, which recommends compensation for the state's chief executive. He served as a member of the board of directors of the New Windsor State Bank for more than 60 years. He was a member of the governing bodies of the Union Mills Homestead Foundation, the Maryland Historical Society and St. John Catholic Church among others.

He was proud of his military service and recognized the community's indebtedness to military veterans. He marched at the head of Westminster's Memorial Day Parade with other local veterans for decades, continuing to participate by riding in the event in recent years. He was a member of the American Legion Carroll Post No. 31 of Westminster.

He was a member of St. John Catholic Church. He attended St. John school from first grade through high school, graduating one year early at age 16. He sent all eight of his children to the school and has generously supported scholarships for current students to the school. He was honored by the Knights of Columbus at the church for more than 60 years of service to the organization where he had served as a past Grand Knight.

He was a voracious reader of books and multiple daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and journals. He enjoyed traveling. At 16, he and three friends, all Boy Scouts, traveled to the Chicago World's Fair in 1933, camping along the way and returning home via Canada on a month-long journey. During his college summers, he worked as a kitchen helper on the cruise ships A.A. City of Norfolk and A.A. City of Baltimore in order to see Europe. Later, with canvas army tents and many children in tow, camping became his young family's style of vacation. He returned to Europe many times with his wife and traveled throughout the United States and Canada.

He enjoyed vegetable gardening, visiting art museums and attending symphonies and opera. An avid Orioles baseball fan, he first purchased season tickets to their games in 1958. He attended Opening Day this season with the same season ticket subscription. He followed Loyola college sports, especially basketball and lacrosse.

He marched in the civil rights movement, attended the 1968 Democratic convention, challenged leaders to do what is right for the community at large and advocated for effective and transparent governance of community institutions.

He made time to be with his family, reading bedtime stories and poems to his children. He established the family tradition of writing poems to commemorate birthdays and other special occasions, with the most romantic poems in honor of his wife. He left notes from Santa and clues for the children to discover their Easter baskets. He played sports with them and attended their numerous games, recitals and school events.

Surviving are children and spouses Charles O. Fisher Jr. and wife Bridget Hopkins Fisher, Kathleen F. Palaia and husband Arthur R. Palaia, Paul N. Fisher, M. Eileen Churchill and husband Paul Churchill, James I. Fisher and wife Lily Fisher, John D. Fisher and wife Kelly Lee, and Miriam Fisher and husband Lawrence Yumkas; a son-in-law, Thomas Kelly; 16 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; a sister, Elizabeth Fisher Mathias; and nephews and nieces.

He was predeceased by a daughter, Anne Fisher Kelly; and sisters Margaret Fisher Vogel and Anne Fisher Harig.

The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Pritts Funeral Home & Chapel, 412 Washington Road, Westminster.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. John Catholic Church, 43 Monroe St., Westminster. Private interment, with military honors, will take place at St. John Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to St. John Catholic School, 43 Monroe St., Westminster, MD 21157; or Carroll Hospital Center Foundation, 200 Memorial Ave., Westminster, MD 21157.

Online condolences may be offered at

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Published in Carroll County Times on June 25, 2012
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