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Obituary: Kenneth J. Fisher / Pearl Harbor survivor, 'fair and honest man' on Astini News

March 26, 2012 6:01 pm

By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Kenneth J. Fisher survived the attack on Pearl Harbor while serving in the Navy during World War II and outlived his wife and two children. But he never let the difficulties of his life change his warm personality or positive outlook on life.

"He continued to be upbeat and friendly and enjoy life. He was a very, very nice man," said Ida Hardin, his companion of 12 years.

Mr. Fisher, 91, died of Alzheimer's disease on March 23 at home in Braddock Hills.

He was a native of the Brushton neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where he was born and raised and where he raised his family, which included a son and daughter.

He enlisted in the Navy and served in 1939-1945. Prior to his naval service, Mr. Fisher served in the National Guard for two years.

During his time in the Navy, Mr. Fisher experienced two close calls with his life. The first was when he was stationed at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941 and 2,400 were killed.

The second close call came in July 1945, when he disembarked the USS Indianapolis shortly before it was sunk by a Japanese torpedo in the Philippine Sea killing some 800 servicemen.

"He had just gotten off of that ship and was on another. His family wasn't sure where he was," Mrs. Hardin said. She said he served on the USS Indianapolis for five years.

But rather than dwelling on the war, like many World War II veterans, Mr. Fisher returned home, went to work and raised a family without speaking too much of the war. He spent 32 years working for the Union Railroad, where he retired as a conductor.

Mr. Fisher enjoyed playing the guitar and harmonica and singing. He performed at the East Vandergrift Senior Center and at other senior citizen venues and was often the life of the party at social gatherings.

Mrs. Hardin said Mr. Fisher wore a pin that said "I like to give hugs" and that he remained active, exercising daily, until his illness prevented it about 18 months ago.

He requested his obituary state that he "be remembered as a fair and honest man."

In addition to Mrs. Hardin, Mr. Fisher is survived by three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be 2 to and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Robert P. Karish Funeral Home, Brinton Road and Fourth Street, Braddock Hills. A Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Maurice Church. Burial will be in All Saints-Braddock Catholic Cemetery with full military honors.

Memorial contributions my be made to St. Maurice Church or Bridges Hospice.

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