Below is an articles published in the 2012 Bar Bulletin, celebrating the life and legacy of MSBA Past-President, Charles O. Fisher, Sr.
MSBA Mourns Past President ~ Fisher was Association’s 87th President ~
Carroll County attorney Charles O. Fisher, Sr., who served as MSBA President from 1980-1981, passed away June 22, 2012 at the age of 95 following a brief illness.
“He truly was a nice guy,” recalls MSBA Past President J. Michael McWilliams, Fisher’s immediate successor as head of the Association. Fisher lived a “full and happy life,” says McWilliams, setting “an example for me that I tried to follow.”
Charles M. Preston, MSBA President from 1998-1999, remembers his friend of more than 40 years as possessing “sterling character” and the highest ethical standards. “Charlie Fisher was regarded by everyone as not only a truly knowledgeable and capable trial attorney, but also as a pillar of the community,” notes Preston, a fellow Westminster attorney. “He could go anywhere and people knew him, or knew of him.”
Born on June 15, 1917, in Washington, D.C., Fisher moved to Westminster with his family at the age of 4. He later attended the University of Maryland School of Law, but placed his legal education on hold in 1941 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After the war, Fisher resumed his studies in 1946, when he was discharged from the service, and earned his law degree the following year. He subsequently returned to his hometown, joining the firm of Walsh & Fisher, where he would practice law for the next 60-plus years.
In a 2009 Bar Bulletin interview, Fisher, a general practitioner who remained active in the MSBA long after his presidency, called joining the Association “one of the best decisions I ever made.”
“Some of my fondest memories of practicing law are the association with other lawyers and working on bar activities, seeing the development of the law,” he added.
In his installation speech, Fisher described the Bar as providing “an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the development of the Law.”
“It is the forum in which we debate and determine the directions we take,” he noted. “It is the voice of our profession, a voice that must continue speaking with clarity and vision.”
But Fisher’s penchant for public service extended well beyond the practice of law. With the closest hospitals at the time dozens of miles away in places like Baltimore or Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, he joined forces with a handful of civic and business leaders in the late 1950s to establish Westminster’s own hospital. On October 1, 1961, what would become known as Carroll Hospital Center opened its doors to the public. Fisher would serve on the hospital’s Board of Directors for the rest of his life. In 2009, Carroll Hospital Center honored its last living founder with the dedication of its Charles O. Fisher Medical Building.
Nor did Fisher’s community interest stop with quality medical care. In addition to a directorship of the New Windsor Bank and a trusteeship of the Union Mills Homestead Foundation, he also actively participated in organizations like the Maryland Historical Society and St. John Roman Catholic Church in Westminster.
“There’s great satisfaction in public service; it’s the day-to-day activities that are the lifeblood of the community,” Fisher told the Bar Bulletin in 2009. “You’re giving something back to the community, and that’s important. The community is no stronger than the people who are willing to devote some time and service to it.” Fisher’s son, Charles O. Fisher, Jr., who is himself an attorney and member of the Carroll Hospital Center’s Board of Directors, concurred.
“We grew up understanding that our father was involved in community activities,” the younger Fisher noted in 2009. “In fact, I think we grew up understanding that you’re supposed to be involved in community activities – this is what people do.”