Dayton City Attorney Dies Suddenly
Sad news to report out of Dayton on Monday where longtime City Attorney John C. "Jack" Fischer has passed away.
Fischer suffered a heart attack while shoveling snow at his Sixth Avenue home, Mayor Virgil Boruske told The River City News. He was 63.
"It was a great relationship," Boruske said of Fischer's ability to work with city council. The mayor had spoken to the attorney on Monday morning. "Jack was liked by the whole council and me. Jack always got along with everybody and he was always there for the city, in that office almost every day in the city building, checking to make sure everything was fine."
Prior to assuming his role as city attorney, Fischer served on city council, Boruske said. He was a sort of human encyclopedia on municipal law. "It's going to be hard to fill that space because he knew so much about the city and had been there so long," the mayor said. "What about this, Jack, and what about that, and he could tell you."
Fischer's brother is longtime State Rep. Joe Fischer (R-Ft. Thomas). Democrat State Rep. Dennis Keene of Wilder, whose district includes Dayton, remembered the veteran public servant fondly. "He was one of the kindest, most gentle people I've ever come in contact with. A first-class good man," Keene said. "He was very thorough and always did a very good job. He was very considerate of all the citizens of Dayton and he really cared about Dayton."
"This is such crushing news. That'll really be crushing to that city."
Freshman city councilman Ben Baker called Fischer a mentor. "He was such a humble person and was very kind," Baker said. "I really don't know what to think yet. He was an amazing asset to the city and will be truly missed."
Former city council member Cathy Volter served for parts of three decades alongside Fischer. "He was a consummate gentleman and Jack was the most honest person you'd ever want to meet," she said. "There was no gray with Jack. It was either black or white, he was just that honest. I never heard him say a bad word about anybody and never heard anyone say a bad word about him."
Fischer served in various leadership roles over the years at the Campbell County Democratic Party executive committee. His wife Louise is a school teacher, retired from Dayton Independent Schools. Not only did he serve the city, he was a knowledgeable resident, too.
"The loss of Jack in the community will just be huge," Volter said. "The knowledge and the history of Dayton and every aspect, he could just pull out his hat almost every date and cite times, and there is just going to be a huge loss in the history of Dayton." Volter said that Fischer was a methodical thinker who always listened, taking in each word from the respective parties, even when members of council faced contentious situations. "He would never get flustered and when I would ask for it he would give his opinion and he was very level-headed."
Fischer's legal advice was also offered privately to many in the city and Volter said that he never charged as much as he should have. "He just genuinely cared about people and doing the job," she said. "He really underestimated when it came to his billing, when it came to working for people. He was just a good man."
Former Mayor Ken Rankle also expressed sadness at the sudden loss of Fischer. He worked with the city attorney for sixteen years, twelve as mayor. "I never met a more caring and honest individual than Jack Fischer. He loved the city of Dayton and he would do anything for the city of Dayton," Rankle said.
"He's going to be tough to replace. You never really realize how important somebody is until they're gone and somebody like Jack Fischer, we will miss Jack."
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher
Photo: Fischer sits at left as former city administrator Dennis Redmond speaks with former Mayor Ken Rankle between them/RCN file