Dr. Fisher: HOF Athlete, Veteran, Former Faculty -Through the decades, a Ragin’ Cajun to the core
Megan Wyatt, The Advertiser, Oct. 31, 2014
Acadiana is bustling with Ragin’ Cajuns fans of all ages from all walks of life, but few people compare to David Fisher Sr.
Fisher, 88, has been honored many times by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette throughout the years for his athletic and academic performance while attending the university and later for his teaching at the university.
Upon graduating in 1950 from what was then called the Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning, Fisher was awarded the Outstanding Graduate award and was inducted into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award in 1980, served as the Alumni Association president from 1982 to 1983 and was honored at the Alumni Association’s Spring Gala in 2012.
“I never have lost my allegiance to this university,” Fisher said. “I have season tickets to all the sports, and we tailgate as a family before the home games.”
But before he ever set foot on the campus, Fisher, a Jennings native, served his country in World War II.
Fisher flew 22 combat missions and was honorably discharged in November 1945, receiving the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross and a combat ribbon for service in the Pacific.
Just last week, Fisher had the opportunity to board a B-29 once again, this time with other veterans flying from Baton Rouge to New Orleans for a WWII AirPower Expo.
“It was great,” Fisher said. “I was emotional about it. I didn’t cry or nothing like that, but as we went over that field, it all came back to me.”
Upon returning to Acadiana after serving in the war, Fisher enrolled at the university, where he studied physical education and joined the football, basketball and track teams. He met his wife, Shirley Rhodes, during his first semester and her last semester of school in 1946. After graduating from the university, Fisher was drafted to play for the then Baltimore Colts, although he accepted a teaching job at Jennings High School and married his college girlfriend instead.
Fisher taught high school until 1958, when he accepted a teaching position at the university in the Men’s Physical Education Department, where he worked until retiring in 1974.
His wife, Shirley, worked as a second-grade teacher for a few years before she began offering kindergarten classes out of her home. At the time, Lafayette did not have many kindergarten options, and parents from across the region took their children to the Fisher home. The family added on to the house to accommodate the demand.
The Fishers opened Fisher’s Early Childhood Development on Ridge Road in 1970 and opened a second location in the early 1990s on Farrel Road.
Even from a business perspective, the Fisher family’s Ragin’ Cajun spirit is evident. Both locations have won the school division of UL’s Paint the Town Red many times.
Fisher says that family has been his greatest priority.
“My family is my crown jewels,” he said. “That’s been our life — our kids and our grandkids and now our great-grandkids.”
All seven of his children attended UL, and many of his 19 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren have attended UL.
Much of the family will be taking part in Saturday’s homecoming festivities at Cajun Field.
“One of my sons is cooking a pig on a Cajun microwave Saturday,” Fisher said. “We always look forward to tailgating because a lot of our friends come by. It’s just really been a way of life.”
Athletic Network Footnote: Click here for the story about Dr. Fisher and his FIFI WW II teammates with links to a video of their reunion.