Obituary of Charlie W. Fischer, C.M.
It is with much sadness, but with so many loving memories, that we share the news of Charlie’s passing on June 17, 2020.
Charlie was a big presence - not just in his physical stature, but his presence in our lives and the life of this community. In our inexpressible sense of loss and our painful regret that he still had much to give to his family and his community, and we still had much to give him, we are ever grateful for Charlie's influence on each one of us. We will remember and hold dear his unconditional love and acceptance, his unwavering principles, his wish for us to succeed and his unfailing support for us to follow our individual paths, his humble needs, the fun he found in "being involved" - in learning, in interesting work, in recreation, in volunteering. We are grateful he was in our corner.
"Charlie" to everyone, all who knew him experienced that consistent, accessible and comfortable character. He offered his friendly gaze and warm smile under his trademark handle-bar moustache to one and all. It was with genuine affection that he welcomed people who crossed the street to talk to him. His uncomplicated good sense, quiet confidence, astute perception of human motivations, and disposition to never forget a lesson learned were readily accessible to anyone who came to him seeking his friendship or advice.
Charlie had a gift for finding common ground with everyone. He could befriend a cowboy, executive, student, environmentalist, politician, tour guide or grandchild because he cared to find what he and they had in common. Charlie had strong views and strong values, yes, but he developed solutions and got results by finding common ground. In Charlie’s books, a solution meant that everyone could walk away from the table feeling they had been heard and were part of the solution.
Charlie was a man who truly walked his talk. Guided unwaveringly by his principles and always a man of integrity, if Charlie saw a need for change, he rolled up his sleeves and set to work to make it better. He must have been born with a certain amount of this - at age six, he set out on his own to the hardware store to buy a saw for a construction project he had concocted. But as his experience and his reach grew, so too did the challenges he set out to improve. Charlie believed in the best of his community, the best of his industry, the best of his country, and the best of his friends, and with determination and great generosity of spirit he moved each closer to that vision.
To all who knew him, and the many who never met him but have been touched by his gifts, he was generous - with his time, his energy, his talents and his resources. His example has encouraged so many of us too to roll up our sleeves and do what we can with what we have.
While we wanted to share a few loving reflections on our “Charlie”, “Dad” and “Grandpa”, in true Charlie style, he had his own views on what he wanted said: Thank you. Thank you to all who loved him, befriended him, mentored him, challenged him, supported him, advocated beside him, and made his life the full, rewarding and deeply happy life it was.
Charlie is survived by his wife and partner, Joanne Cuthbertson, his treasured daughters and sons-in-law Lindsay Fischer and Ian Wylie, and Kate Fischer and Joel Douglas, and his beloved grandchildren Eloise and Tom. A celebration of Charlie’s life will be planned when it is safe to gather and our family will provide details at that time. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health, https://netcommunity.ucalgary.ca/charliefischer c/o the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary to support Charlie’s vision of a healthcare system with the patient at its heart.