William Harris Fish
Veteran, U.S. Navy
William Harris “Bill” Fish, 78, of Williamsport and Pine Creek, passed away at UPMC Susquehanna on Wednesday evening, January 29, 2020, after enduring a long series of health complications.
Bill was the beloved husband of Mary “Sis” (Lyons) Fish, who he often referred to as his light and inspiration, and the joy of his life. They met when Sis was a nurse at Divine Providence Hospital, and the couple grew nearly inseparable over their 53 years of marriage. They resided in South Williamsport for many years before ultimately retiring to their home along Pine Creek.
Bill was born April 8, 1941, in Louisville, KY, the son of Luther and Florence (Brigham) Fish. He was a graduate of Williamsport Area High School and attended Rutgers University and Lycoming College. He served in the U.S. Navy, with duty aboard the USS Kitty Hawk supercarrier.
After his Navy service, Bill joined his father and the handful of employees and agents at their family-owned business, Fish Real Estate. Under Bill’s leadership over the ensuing decades, the firm steadily expanded, both through timely national branding affiliations and a merger with Peggy L'Heureux Real Estate, and today, the company remains the largest independent agency in the region. In 2005, the agency was recognized by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce as the “Small Business of the Year.” Bill fully retired in 2008 and was named an Emeritus Member of the West Branch Valley Association of Realtors.
He and Sis were philanthropists and were widely recognized for their generous support and leadership of a variety of community organizations with broad reach, including UPMC Susquehanna (and its predecessor healthcare institutions) and First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. But he most valued the important work of Hope Enterprises, where he served many years on the board of directors, including a term as the organization’s president.
A highly skilled outdoorsman, he enjoyed upland hunting with his dogs, and he also served as regional president of the Ruffed Grouse Society. He had a passion for fly fishing, whether in remote locations around the world, or at home, in the serene beauty of Pine Creek. Ever a talented athlete, he was an avid golfer and member of the Williamsport Country Club, and he was part of the development team that constructed the West Branch Tennis Club.
Bill’s wide travels presented opportunities to play golf in Ireland and Scotland, go fishing in the Amazon River Basin, and – on his 60th birthday – bungee jump in New Zealand. He spent the last decade wintering in Islamorada in the Florida Keys, enjoying fishing and fellowship, but mostly laughter, with visiting friends and family. He was also a music aficionado – in particular, a fan of the blues – and he possessed an extensive knowledge of Bruce Springsteen and regularly attended the singer-songwriter’s live concerts over his long career.
In addition to his wife, Bill is survived by a daughter, Kathleen (James) Cowan of Madison, NJ; a son, Brent (Daria) Fish; five grandchildren, Bill, Mark, Andrew, Megan and Ryan; a brother, Brent L. (Norma) Fish of Williamsport; and a sister, Bonnie Welch, Fairfield, CT.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, at St. Boniface Catholic Church, 326 Washington Blvd., Williamsport, with burial to follow at Wildwood Cemetery. Friends will be received at Herman and Luther’s, 787 PA Rt. 87, Montoursville, PA following internment.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family respectfully requests contributions be directed to the Hope Enterprises Foundation, 2401 Reach Road, Williamsport, PA 17701.
Arrangements are being handled by Spitler Funeral Home, Montoursville.
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