Irving D. Fisher, 92: Respected scholar, USM professor

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BRUNSWICK — Irving D. Fisher died July 22 at the age of 92.   

On March 16, 1918, he was born in Hartford, Conn., the son of Clara and Nathan Fisher, and attended local schools.

After he graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served with distinction in Europe from 1943 to 1946.

He returned to the United States, and was honorably discharged as a captain, but continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve for 27 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

After earning his doctorate in political philosophy from Columbia University in New York, he began his teaching career at Brooklyn College and Columbia University.  

In the mid 1960s, he relocated his family to Brunswick to teach as a visiting professor at Bowdoin College.
He then began a distinguished career spanning 44 years as a professor at the University of Southern Maine.  Students will remember him as a demanding and stimulating professor. He respected the views of others, even when he may not have agreed with them.  A  valued colleague,  he served as chairman of the political science department and as secretary-treasurer of the New England Political Science Association.

A respected scholar, his 1986 biography of  landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted can be found in more than 400 libraries worldwide.

He also served as director of the Robert A. Taft Institute of Government, a program for Maine high school teachers to enrich the study of public affairs.

Upon his retirement in 1999, he was recognized by the Maine State Legislature for his scholarship, authorship and  enrichment of Maine political studies. 

As a devoted father, he shared his passion for fitness and the outdoors, hiking, roller blading, cross-country skiing, cycling, sculling, ice-skating, and running. 

He was active in the local community, participating in the Brunswick French Club, and gardening at the Brunswick Community Garden. A passion for jazz, he was a member of the Portland Jazz Club and volunteered at the Bowdoin College radio station.

He was admired for his devotion to family, and for sharing his pursuit of the physical and intellectual life. 

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Janice Kenik Fisher; his five children, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, Mark, Claire and Daniel; and nine grandchildren.

Family, friends, colleagues, and students are invited to attend a celebration of life on Saturday, Sept. 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Daggett Lounge, Thorne Hall, Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick.

Memorial donations can be made to the B’nai B’rith Foundation of the U.S., 2020 K St. NW, 7th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20006.

He was buried in a private ceremony, surrounded by family, with military honors at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery.