By Nancy Huth
There are two of them, both named Bill Fisher. They work for Cardinal High School, but are not related. Both Bills are retired, yet find pleasure in working part time in the school’s Maintenance Department, where their bosses Brian Kelly and Dave Noble appreciate their good luck in having such reliable men on their staff.
Nicknamed “Mower Bill,” the 82-year-old Fisher applied for the grass cutting job 20 years ago after retirement. Since he and his wife live right next door on Thompson, it was convenient for him to drive his golf cart over to the school. Bill asserts, “I take pride in keeping the lawn and three-mile cross country course neat and clean.” As a young man Bill attended Auburn Vocational School and became a machinist working for Johnson Rubber, Geauga Industries and Clark Rubber in Mentor. Married to his high school sweetheart Joyce from Ashtabula County for 62 years, Bill boasts three children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. The children have now taken over the outdoor Christmas decorating that has enchanted residents of Middlefield for 40 years, allowing Bill and his wife time to winter in Florida.
The younger Bill is 66 and known as “Striper Bill” or “AD Bill” (for Athletic Director). This Fisher, a 1969 Cardinal graduate, attended Kent State University earning a B.A in Education and Industrial Arts with a teaching minor in Speech. He was hired back at his Alma Mater at age 22 teaching shop for 23 years. Then he went back to Kent for a second B.A, in Library Media and became Cardinal’s High School librarian for 12 years. In addition, Bill was head track coach for 35 years, cross country coach for 10, assistant football coach for 25, and basketball coach for 23 years. He started his well-earned retirement in 2008, but his years at Cardinal were not over. Bill was soon contacted to do part-time work lining the football and baseball fields as well as officiating at track and cross country meets.
“Striper Bill” said, “I like being active and in contact with students. I take pride in making the athletic fields look nice. And I still find time to go camping with my wife and do woodworking at home.”
This Bill also married his high school sweetheart Terri. After 44 years they have three children and five grand-kids.
The Bills’ boss, maintenance supervisor Brian Kelly (who also is a former student of Striper Bill’s) boasts, “To say I appreciate the work the Bills do, not just for me, but for the Cardinal staff, students and community would be an understatement. These two have so much Huskie Pride and it shows in their work. They are dedicated, devoted, and perfectionists at what they do. No matter the weather, cold and rainy or hot and humid, they are out there giving 100 percent. I get many compliments on our grounds from people in our community and even visiting teams. It’s that pride in the hard work they do that makes this small little school district look big. When they retire, if I let them, they will surely be missed. The saying, ‘everyone is replaceable’ is not always true!”