Hugo Mark Fisher April 30, 1921 - July 8, 2015 SAN DIEGO -- Hugo Mark Fisher, a former California State Senator and Superior Court Judge, died on July 8, 2015, in the Midtown condominium where he lived, about a mile from the Hillcrest apartment building where his parents resided when he was born. The geography is significant in that Hugo dedicated his life to the city of San Diego and was convinced it was the most beautiful city in the world. Hugo was born in San Diego when Mission Valley consisted of dairy farms, and raised in Mission Hills, where he remembered street cars running down Fort Stockton Drive. He graduated from San Diego High School in 1939, Balboa Law School (now California Western) in 1950, and was admitted to the state bar in 1951. Before entering the political arena, Hugo was partner in the law firms of Sloane & Fisher with his father-in-law Harrison Sloane, and later Procopio, Price, Cory, and Fisher, along with Sol Price, founder of Price Club. Hugo served as general counsel and as a board member of Price's earlier Fed-Mart. As an activist in Democratic Party politics, Hugo helped form the California Democratic Committee (CDC) in 1952. He served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1952, 1956, and 1960 (and as an alternate in 1968), and served as John F. Kennedy's campaign manager for Southern California. He was elected State Senator for San Diego in 1958. A staunch advocate for public education, Hugo authored the "Fisher bill," which revolutionized the system for the credentialing of public school teachers in California and inspired similar legislation nationwide. Hugo also played an important role in establishing the University of California San Diego. A left-leaning Democrat representing a largely Republican city, Hugo's election to office was an anomaly, and after losing reelection in 1962, Hugo was appointed by governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown as Administrator of The Resources Agency of California (1962 to 1966). Brown appointed Hugo to the bench in San Diego Superior Court, where he served from 1966 until he retired in 1983. During his years of public service, Hugo literally changed the landscape of San Diego. He was instrumental in the legislation and building of the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge and also the California State Water Project. Additionally, Hugo co-sponsored an act which created the Unified Port District, and was recently honored by The Commissioners of the San Diego Port Authority, "Father of the Port Authority." Pat Brown appointed Hugo to the bench in San Diego Superior Court, where he served from 1966 until he retired in 1983. In both his personal and professional lives, Hugo socialized with all walks of life, from powerful politicians to the staff at his favorite restaurant. Even at the height of his career, when people addressed him as "Your Honor," or "Senator," Hugo would respond, "Call me Hugo." Hugo was married to Lucia Fisher (née Sloane) from 1942 to 1970 and to Phyllis Fisher (formerly Carreño) from 1973 to 1983. In addition to his two children, Anne Winter and Girard Fisher, Hugo raised two step-children, Christy and Carolynn Carreño as if his own. Although Hugo's later years were marred by tragic alcoholism, Hugo maintained loving relationships with his family and friends until the end. Hugo suffered a massive stroke in 2013, but never stopped reciting San Diego history, talking about the Kennedy years, or correcting people's grammar. "I know you're good, but are you well?" In addition to his children and step-children, Hugo is survived by daughter-in-law Linda Fisher, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and devoted caretakers, most significantly David Hermsen. Hugo's passion for the sea, and sailing, was equal to his love of San Diego. His family and friends will scatter his remains in his beloved San Diego Bay on August 22. Smooth sailing, dear Hugo
Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Aug. 16, 2015.