Ben C. Fisher

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  • "A little late but I just heard of Ben's passing today, May..."
  • "Deepest sympathy to the Fisher family. Ben was my friend,..."
    - Jack Cole
  • "We enjoyed Mr and Mrs Fisher very much. They were together..."
    - Janis Mourtoupalas
  • "Condolences and wishes for comfort and peace as you mourn..."
    - David Treadwell
  • "Rob- so sorry to hear about your dad's passing. What a..."


FISHER BENJAMIN CHATBURN FISHER Ben C. Fisher, a preeminent Washington, DC communications law attorney, died April 14, 2016 at age 93, nine months after his beloved wife Jean W. Fisher, 88, passed away. Mr. Fisher''s legal career spanned over six decades, a period in which communications technology evolved from its nascent stage as an AM radio standard broadcast service into the expanded era of FM radio, television, satellite and cellular radio services. Mr. Fisher counseled many of the largest and most successful operators within the industry, including the Sinclair Broadcast television group, Hughes Communications for whom he helped obtain DIRECTV''s first license to provide a direct-to-home broadcast service, and John Kluge in obtaining his New York City cellular radio licenses. In addition to serving as legal counsel, he was also an investor in the Midwest Family Broadcasting group. Born in Coos Bay, Oregon, Ben Fisher moved to Washington D.C. in 1931 when his father, Ben S. Fisher, accepted a job as an attorney with the newly created Federal Radio Commission (now the Federal Communications Commission). After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Mr. Fisher graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois in 1948. During college, Mr. Fisher was an active member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and was awarded the International Balfour Award, given each year to one graduating senior who excels in scholarship, character, fraternity service and campus leadership. Mr. Fisher attended Harvard Law School where he served as an editor on the Harvard Law Review. He received his Juris Doctorate magna cum laude from Harvard in 1951. While at Harvard he met his wife, Jean Whiting of Boston, and they were married June 30, 1951 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Ben Fisher began his career as a law clerk to Judge Learned Hand, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit in New York City. In 1952, he returned to Washington, D.C. to join Fisher, Wayland, and Southmayd (which later became Fisher, Wayland, Cooper, Leader and Zaragoza), a communications law practice his father founded. The Fisher, Wayland firm merged with Shaw Pittman, which later combined with the Pillsbury Winthrop law firm, and Mr. Fisher retired from practicing law at age 86. Mr. Fisher was a founding member of the U.S. International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and served as its first Chairman of the Board. The USITUA was formed to promote U.S. private industry interests in international telecommunication matters. He served on the National Committee of the ITU Radio communication Sector, Department of State. Mr. Fisher served as President of the Federal Communications Bar Association from 1967-1968 and as the Chair of the American Bar Association''s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. He was a founding member of and served as General Counsel to the Society of Satellite Professionals International. Mr. Fisher was actively involved in Maryland Republican politics. He served as campaign chairman for Charles "Mac" Mathias when he was first elected in 1960 to the U.S. House of Representatives representing the 6th congressional district in Maryland. He was an adviser to Gilbert Gude and Connie Morella in their campaigns for the House of Representatives for the 8th congressional district in Maryland and later served as a delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention. In addition to law, one of Ben Fisher''s passions was tennis. He was a professionally ranked tennis player in D.C. as a teenager and continued to play throughout his life. With his wife''s encouragement he took up downhill skiing at age 40 and skied the European Alps and the Colorado Rockies well into his 80''s. Mr. Fisher was also a master gardener. He maintained an extraordinary rose garden at his home in Bethesda, and helped cultivate the first roses that grace the Chevy Chase Club Rose Garden. Mr. Fisher was a dedicated supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington for many decades and served as President of the Board. He was a life long active member of the Rotary Club/D.C. serving in various leadership roles. Ben Fisher was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by two sons, Richard Fisher and Rob Fisher (wife Cheryl Fisher) and three grandchildren, Max Fisher, Allison Fisher and Grace Fisher of Chevy Chase and Bethesda, MD. There will be a celebration of the lives of Ben and Jean Fisher on Tuesday, May 3 at 1 p.m. at the Chevy Chase Club, 6100 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland (main ballroom). Memorial tributes may be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington nonprofit organization (http://www.bgcgw.org), Development Department, Headquarters, 4103 Benning Road, NE, Washington, DC 20019. Memorial tributes may be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington nonprofit organization (http://www.bgcgw.org), Development Department, Headquarters, 4103 Benning Road, NE, Washington, DC 20019.

Published in The Washington Post on Apr. 22, 2016