Veterans Advantage offers a solemn tribute to Anthony Fisher, a friend to U.S. military families and a leading benefactor of military causes around the globe, who died earlier this month in a tragic plane crash that killed six of the seven people on board in Massachusetts. He was 52.
His wife, Anne Fisher, 41, the pilot and the co-pilot were also killed in the crash, which injured one of the Fishers’ five young children, Tora, 13.
Mr. Fisher, who was known as Tony, was also the chairman and chief executive officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, which operates the docked aircraft carrier USS Intrepid in New York City.
The museum was closed two days last week in his memory, as it also was the site of his funeral service. "[Chairmanship of the Intrepid Museum Foundation] has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible, and taught me the true meaning of self-sacrifice," Tony recently said on a personal welcome page on the Intrepid Web site.
Mr. Fisher was also a leader in a number of other nonprofit organizations, including the Fisher House Foundation, which provides homes where the families of injured military personnel may stay while their loved ones recover, and the Armed Forces Foundation, which provides college scholarships to military dependents. In addition, The Fisher family has been active in New York real estate for nearly a century, building residential and commercial towers along many of the city’s avenues.
Martin Anthony Fisher was born on Jan. 20, 1951, in New York City. He graduated from Cushing Academy and Bentley College in Boston and did postgraduate work in finance at Fordham University.
In addition to his daughter Tora and brother, Richard, Mr. Fisher is survived by his mother, Emily Fisher Landau of Manhattan; another daughter, Miasha, and three sons, William, Noah and Cole, all of Manhattan; and a sister, Candia, of Greenwich, Conn.
He Followed a Tradition of Service
Anthony Fisher was part of a legacy that has for 20 years provided lodging for military families who need a place to stay while visiting relatives under care at military hospitals. The Fisher House Foundation has built 31 homes, called Fisher Houses, located on the grounds of major military medical centers in the United States and Europe, and six Veterans Administration medical centers around the country.
News of his untimely death was quickly felt with Washington leaders. "Many of the families of the servicemen that we visited yesterday have their families staying in Fisher Houses," said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, taking a moment from the war to honor Fisher at a recent Pentagon news briefing. "They are at Bethesda, they are also at Walter Reed, and there are other locations around the country and the world. And they are funded by the Fisher Foundation. Their assistance to the military families is deeply appreciated, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of the Fisher family."
"[Tony and Anne Fisher] were great supporters of our service members. The Fisher Houses at military hospitals are a great resource for families visiting their injured or seriously ill loved ones. And we will miss Tony and Anne very much," added Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers.
The Fisher House Foundation was started by Mr. Fisher’s uncle, Zachary, who died in 1999. Zachary is also credited with saving the U.S.S. Intrepid from the scrap heap before renovating it into the nation’s largest military museum.
Ceremony Fit for a Hero
The memorial service for Tony and Anne Fisher held aboard the Intrepid last week, attracted leaders of national government and military ranks. The 2,500 mourners for the couple included New York Governor George E. Pataki, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator Charles E. Schumer. Thomas E. White, secretary of the Army, came from Washington to honor Mr. Fisher with the highest military award for a civilian. General Tommy Franks, Centcom Commander, also relayed a special message.