Sunday, April 14, 2024

Dennis Fisher, 72

| December 13, 2023 2:00 AM

Dennis Reed Fisher was born in Spokane, Washington on October 25, 1951.  His parents, Reed Tolman Fisher and Wanda Heileson Fisher had grown up on farms.  As soon as their dream property was available, the family moved to a farm outside of Deer Park, Washington. He was the oldest boy and became a worker at a young age.  His idea of driving the tractor or truck was unfulfilled as the next younger sibling grew tall enough to reach the pedals and he kept bucking bales! He attended school in Deer Park and had a love for sports.  In high school he played football, basketball, and jumped and ran in track. He held the school record in the 800 (then the 880) for years.

After graduating, he married his high school sweetheart, Jean Taylor.  The Vietnam War was in progress, and, with a draft number of 17, he decided to enlist in the Navy.  He postponed his enlistment to wait for the birth of Jenny. He was trained at boot camp in California, and attended school in Memphis. He was then trained in electronics fire control for A6 planes. He was stationed at Whidbey Island, Washington and was on a cruise when Craig was born. He received word of the birth by telegram on the USS Ranger.  He was later stationed in San Diego where the death of a newborn son, Chad  rocked his world.  He and his family worked cleaning naval housing for inspection, saved this extra money, and made the leap to civilian life.  After 8 years of service, Dennis extended his discharge date by a couple of weeks, and Brett was born - the last military benefit!

    He took a job in a sawmill and worked there until applying for an apprenticeship as a lineman with Bonneville Power. 

His apprenticeship was done in Olympia, Washington and Hot Springs, Montana. The family settled in Plains. By this time three children, Jennifer, Craig, and Brett were growing and a fourth was on the way.  Stephanie was born while they lived in a trailer waiting for a new house to be finished.  Dennis often traveled for his job and was gone Monday through Friday. The crew headquartered out of Hot Springs, but after five years at Plains, the crew was moved to Kalispell.  They bought a home in Columbia Falls and soon after, Mikaela was born.  He resided there for 33 years until his death. Dennis had been on oxygen for many years and suffered from COPD and heart disease.  

Nothing was better for Dennis than the opening of each hunting season. He loaded his own bullets and went to Kelly’s Camp near Dillon. He took each of his children as they were old enough and could spin a hunting tale in detail. A few weeks ago he went hunting and shot an elk - his first in over 12 years.  He got a buck this season too, with the help of his trusty hunting buddies, Jenny and Brett. He loved the outdoors and would often fill a two cord truck with wood all alone, a testament to his hard working self.  One thing Dennis was noted for, was his quick wit and teasing nature. When a child would leave for an activity before dinner and say, “Save some dessert for me.” Dennis would answer, “We don’t save dessert in this house!”

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jean Taylor Fisher of Columbia Falls; children, Jennifer Sandstrom and husband Billy of Columbia Falls; Craig Fisher of Montana;  Brett Fisher and wife Natalie of Kalispell;  Stephanie Kelsey and husband Dustin of Collinsville Oklahoma; Mikaela Rindlisbacher and husband Logan of St. Anthony, Idaho. He loved his grandchildren; Carlie, McKenzee, Sage, Savannah, Drew, Reed, Brock, Elli, Evan, Noah, Copper, Iris, Asher, Sophie, great granddaughter Reese, and an expected granddaughter.  He is also survived by his older sister, LaDean Rentzschke, and two younger brothers, Garth and Farrell Fisher.

Services for Dennis will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9. There will be a viewing at 10 a.m., followed by the memorial at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1780 Talbot Road in Columbia Falls.  A military tribute will follow at Fairview Cemetery. 

Dennis’ family wishes to thank family, friends, and neighbors for all the loving kindness and support. To send online condolences please visit Dennis’ tribute page at Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls is caring for the family.