Robert Fischer (“Bob”) of West Tisbury left his earthly home on Oct. 14, 2023, after a seven-year journey with Alzheimer’s disease. He was fortunate to have spent those years in his own home, surrounded by majestic oaks and evergreens, with bird song wafting through the air and wildlife tapping on his window each morning.
Bob was born in Mineola, N.Y., on Nov. 20, 1942. He attended the State University at Farmingdale, where he studied civil engineering, and continued his education on the G.I. Bill after three years of active duty in the U.S. Army, where he worked in the Topographic Engineering Division. He worked in the petrochemical industry, and then went on to environmental design, piping design for the food industry, and project management in both residential and commercial construction. Engineering was what he did, but if you asked him who he was, his answer would have been, “Fisherman.”
Bob immersed himself in the art of surfcasting, and he spent many hours studying the habitat and intelligence of the striped bass. When he lived in New York, he spent every weekend on the beaches of Southampton, following the tides and tracking the birds. It was on one of these trips that he took a short detour and met a girl named Maureen. Their first six dates encompassed all things fish, including a three-hour date in a rowboat in the rain. He proposed after date No. 6, and the city girl musician said Yes to the country guy fisherman. They married, and did live happily ever after with their two daughters, who of course are skilled in the art of surfcasting. This they learned having spent precious hours camping on the beach with their dad. Bob knew himself well. He fished for the smell of the sea, the roar of the ocean, and the thrill of the catch — and the release. He shared the love with his girls, and they carry it with them. “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after,” wrote Henry David Thoreau. Bob knew.
Bob is survived by his wife of 55 years, Maureen; his two daughters, Colette Kurelja and Kristen Cimaglia, and his three grandchildren, Lilly, Owen, and Ana.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at Saint Elizabeth’s Church on Main Street in Edgartown on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 1 pm.
Special thanks to Hospice & Palliative Care of Martha’s Vineyard, and to the friends, neighbors, and strangers who gave compassionate assistance to our family during this time. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice & Palliative Care of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1748, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, in Bob’s name.