Jo Ann Johnson Fisher was (as she put it) "a child of the Plains" born in Salina, Kansas on August 9, 1920, the oldest of the four children of Edith Loree (Kelly) Johnson and Myron Ernest Johnson. Her parents both came from Kansas farms, and had both attended the Architectural School at Kansas State College in Manhattan, where they met. The family moved from Kansas to Columbus, Ohio circa 1929, when Mrs. Fisher's father became employed as an architect for the Midwest region by the J.C. Penney Company.
Mrs. Fisher graduated from Grandview High School, Columbus, in 1938. In 1942 she graduated with a degree in Geology from Flora Stone Mather College, now part of Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio; while there she was also President of Delta Psi Omega sorority. She continued her education in Geology for one year at Ohio State University prior to her marriage. She maintained a life-long interest in geology and geography.
She was married in Columbus, Ohio on October 24, 1943 and she and her husband spent their honeymoon on Drummond Island, Michigan where Mr. Fisher's family owned a summer cottage on Tourist Road and had many friends. Thereafter she and her husband would visit and bring their children to Drummond (along with her mother-in-law, Ruth Fisher, and other relatives) most summers.
After their wedding the Fishers first resided in the Boston, Massachusetts area, where her husband was a graduate student; she was a member of the M.I.T. Dames. When Dr. Fisher started his job with the General Electric Research Laboratory in September 1947, they moved to the Schenectady, New York area, where Mrs. Fisher was a busy mother of three and a friend to many, known for her hospitality and her stylish taste in clothing, art, design, and decor. She was an accomplished seamstress and became a gourmet cook. She was a member of the American Association of University Women, the L'Allegro social dancing club, the Bifocals discussion group, the G.E. Research Lab's Newcomers' club, and was a den mother for the Cub Scouts and a volunteer at the Schenectady Museum (was President of the Friends of the Schenectady Museum 1959-61). As a member of All Souls' Unitarian Church she taught Sunday School for several years and served on the Furniture Selection Committee for the new church building built in 1957.
After moving from Schenectady to Santa Barbara, California in 1965, she continued to support her husband in his career with the General Electric Company. She also became interested there in The Experiment in International Living and was instrumental in helping to raise funds to send the Santa Barbara High School Madrigal Singers (of which her son was a member) on a European tour.
Over the course of her husband's career the Fishers lived in Cambridge and Belmont, Massachusetts; Alplaus and Schenectady, New York; Berkeley, California; Santa Barbara, California; Washington, D.C.; Radnor, Pennsylvania; Wilton, Connecticut; Menlo Park, California; and Latham, New York. Mrs. Fisher and her husband enjoyed traveling and visited England, Japan, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, pre-Castro Cuba, Mexico, Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Hawaii and Alaska together. (She also visited friends in England and Wales on her own.) Jo and John made numerous cross-country trips by car, usually with a couple of cats along.
The Fishers retired in Carpinteria, California in 1982 where Mrs. Fisher became interested in formal genealogical research (she had already prompted her father to write a book of his recollections, and had made an indexed transcript of an ancestor's Civil War diary). She became a Lifetime member and supporter of, and volunteer for, the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society. She and her husband continued to travel, enjoying visits to genealogical sites and to their children located around the U.S. Her last visit to Drummond Island, before illness curtailed her traveling, was in 1999 to a Fisher family reunion marking 60 years and four generations of the Fishers as Drummond "summer people."
Jo Ann Johnson Fisher died peacefully in her sleep early Monday morning, April 13, 2009, at her home in Carpinteria, California. She was 88 years old. Her ashes were interred in the Fisher family plot at the Drummond Island Cemetery on 7 July 2009 following a private memorial service.
John Crocker Fisher
1920 - 2009