Morrie Fisher, mayor of Pacific Grove for two terms, died Monday, March 13, 2017, at the age of 79, from liver cancer.
He spent nearly his entire life in Pacific Grove. He attended all Pacific Grove schools, and graduated from Monterey Peninsula College. He was a member of the Pacific Grove High School “Hall of Fame” from the class of 1956 and served honorably in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard,
where he managed the ship’s legal department
He was employed with Monterey Savings, which became Coast Federal Bank in l981, and was Vice President and manager of the Pacific Grove branch from l975 until his retirement in 1996.
Morrie was a loving father and cared deeply for his family and friends. He is survived by his two loving daughters Jodeen Gilpatrick (Husband Mike Gilpatrick) and Jana Woodmansee; five wonderful grandchildren: Jared Michael Gilpatrick, Cyrena Faith Gilpatrick, Ryan Morris Johnsen, Rachel Elizabeth Johnsen and Katie Jodeen Johnsen; one very special great-grandson Finnegan; loving sister, Jodeen (Mike) Colletto and brother Ralph (Debbie) Fisher; eleven nieces and nephews; eleven great-nieces and great-nephews; Charlie Higuera and his family and the Rock Broome family.
He served the City of Pacific Grove on its city council for over 22 years, including three terms as mayor. He served on the Monterey Salinas Transit Board of Directors for 23 years, including 19 years as chairman and vice-chairman. He served as vice chairman for the Monterey County Transportation Commission. He was a director of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG). He was vice-chairman of the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency. He was a member of the Fort Ord Re-Use Authority Finance Committee, director of the Water Management District, director of SCRAMP, vice-president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, treasurer of the Monterey County Association for Mental Health, director of the Monterey Rape Crisis Board, Lt. District Governor of Monterey and California JAYCEES, member of Pacific Grove’s Masonic Lodge and life member of the NAACP.
During Morrie’s term as Mayor he encouraged the council to adopt a no-smoking ordinance; he initiated the first 4th of July picnic celebration; the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony; donated the flag pole outside of the Chamber of Commerce and had a friend install it. He reinstituted an annual Christmas tree decorating contest in our neighborhoods. He also appointed members of our community to a “hike and bike trail committee” to develop a trail along the Asilomar Beach area.
In the 1980s, as Mayor he voted against the development of the Dena Dively property, making it possible for the City to purchase and preserve forever this very sensitive butterfly habitat. He also supported the building of the new city hall; and the purchase of property for a new senior housing complex on Jewell Avenue.
Gary Bales was City Manager of Pacific Grove during Morrie Fisher’s tenure as mayor. He recalls working with Morrie on these projects and more, including the Rec Center. “He truly loved Pacific Grove,” said Bales. “It was always a pleasure to work with him. He always had funny lines that eased the tension of some unpleasant situations.”
Gary Bales added that he and Morrie Fisher remained good friends even after they were not in office, and exchanged birthday wishes and visits.
Moe Ammar, president of the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce, said that Morrie Fisher was recipient of the Chamber’s James R, Hughes Citizen of the Year award in 1999.
“He loved and cared about PG,” said Ammar. “He was very accessible and enjoyed walking around town and going to football games. “He loved the town and cared about it.”
Morrie Fisher was also close friends with Charlie Higuera, owner of Grove Market, and worked with him after he retired.
According to a campaign piece written when he ran for election in 2002 against Sandi Koffman, Morrie Fisher was instrumental in founding the DARE program, a program in our schools warning our youth about illegal use of drugs. He worked on bringing to a successful conclusion the re-configuration of the Monterey Salinas Transit route changes through Pacific Grove, thus reducing the many neighborhood concerns regarding safety, noise and frequency of the bus.
Visitation will take place at The Paul Mortuary Chapel March 16 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm. Funeral services will be at St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Friday, March 17 at 10:00 followed by burial with Military Honors at El Carmelo Cemetery. If so disposed, in lieu of flowers please consider a donation in Morrie’s memory to the PG Alumni Association or the PG Knockout, PO Box 51396, Pacific Grove, CA, 93950 or the National Autism Association, One Park Ave., Ste. 1, Portsmouth, RI, 02871.