Former School Superintendent Believed in People

(Additional information about R. B. Fisher, former Pampa school superintendent, has been received from the Corpus Christi Public Libraries.) Born in a small town in West Virginia on May 22, 1891, he was a farm boy who believed the axiom, “One is not well-educated until he has smelled the fresh-plowed ground.” Like every little boy in the coal country, he found the long coal-laden trains deeply impressive and yearned to be both engineer and steamboat captain since he lived only five miles from the Ohio River in an age which revered Mark Twain.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

On his first job, clearing some land of timber for corn planting, his father told him, “Do a good day’s work and then help with the chores in the evening. If you will do that, you’ll always be able to get a job.” While he was in his early teens, his family moved to a farm near Carmen, Oklahoma. When he graduated from Carmen High School, an old family friend told him, very forcefully, that he was cut out to be a school man. He entered North- western Teachers’ College at Alva, Oklahoma, where he received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1924. He was school superintendent at Cherokee, Oklahoma for two years before he came to Pampa in August of 1927 as algebra teacher and high school principal. He became superintendent of the Pampa schools in 1929-30 and continued in that capacity until he resigned to become superintendent of Corpus Christi schools on February 1, 1938.

During the time Fisher was in Pampa, he received a Master’s degree from Columbia University at New York City. In 1935 he made an European tour with 20 other selected educators to study educational, political and economic con- ditions, his hobby was exploring the past and studying growth through the medium of museums, and he browsed in museums from Edinburgh to Leningrad. On February 10, 1938, the Corpus Christi Junior Chamber of Commerce gave a banquet to honor two new officials of the school system, Superintendent R. B. Fusher and Coach Harry Stitler. Both men, who had arrived at Corpus Christi during a heavy rain, said they had been advised not to accept positions at Corpus Christi, but they had become convinced that they had been ill advised. They expressed gratitude for the warm reception they had received and for the spirit of co-operation shown by the people of Corpus Christi. As the concluding speaker, Fisher expressed appreciation of the value of football and accepted the responsibilities of his new position.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times, February 4, 1940, printed an article, “Though He Acts An Almanac-Geography, Superintendent Fisher Deals In People.” The article begins; “People from every folder in the social file and every color in the racial spectrum veer at some time or other from their customary orbits toward the office of the city school superintendent, R. B. Fisher, at high school. “Via the telephone come daily requests for such information as foreign capi- tals and whether it is the proper season for transplanting orange trees. Enter- tainers, janitors, cafeteria workers, teacher applicants and teachers, board members, parents, civic leaders all appear in due course. “The man behind the desk who greets them in a melodious tenor voice, (he believes in and practices the barber shop quartet harmonies) and listens with an attentive ear and eye, and a warm smile except when tried beyond human en- durance, is known in school circles in and out of the state.”

Superintendent Fisher’s favorite theory is that it is possible to learn from people and things as well as books. His philosophy of doing more than is required is expressed in a jingle that he is fond of quoting, “Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.” Superintendent Fisher had said at the Jaycee welcoming banquet that he expected to remain at Corpus Christi and be of service for many years to come — but that did not happen. After an illness of five days in a Corpus Christi hospital, he died of double pneumonia on October 15, 1941. A funeral service was held at Corpus Christi before his body was shipped to Pampa for a funeral service at the First Methodist Church and burial at Fairview Cemetery. Fisher Street in Pampa and Fisher Elementary School in Corpus Christi were named for R. B. Fisher.

Gertrude Fisher, a native of Saint Joseph, Missouri, studied at state universities in Oklahoma, Colorado and California and taught business adminis- tration at Cherokee, Oklahoma for eight years before her marriage to Roy B. Fisher. After his death she taught at Corpus Christi for 25 years until she retired. She was very active in church and club work. After an illness of about three weeks she died on September 2, 1969 at Corpus Christi and her body was sent to Pampa for burial beside her husband. Her survivors included a son, the Rev. Brent Fisher of San Antonio, and four grandchildren.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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