Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Remembering a great personal friend to many

Looking west across the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. 8:15 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Another beautiful summer-like weekend in New York with lots of sunshine and cool (in the low 60s) in the evening.

Marjorie Fisher, a major philanthropist and widow Detroit industrialist (and philanthropist) Max Fisher, died this past Sunday morning at her home in Palm Beach. She was 92.

Mrs. Fisher was one of the great ladies of philanthropy, and a great personal friend to many. Our friend Shannon Donnelly, Palm Beach Daily News' longtime Social reporter and commentator, was a friend of Mrs. Fisher, and wrote the following obituary this past Monday in the PBDN ...

Max and Marjorie Fisher.
Palm Beach resident Marjorie Fisher, a generous supporter of charitable, religious and civic initiatives, died Sunday morning at her Palm Beach home at the age of 92.

She was the widow of the late Detroit industrialist and philanthropist Max M. Fisher, to whom she was married for 52 years.

Born in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 5, 1923, Marjorie Faith Switow's family was in the theater business, and her creative bent made itself known at an early age.

While still a teenager she began sketching her own fashion designs, and went on to major in art at Marjorie Webster Junior College, where she graduated at the top of her class. When relating this achievement, she would wink and say, in a falsely conspiratorial whisper, "But there were only three students in the entire class."
Marjorie Fisher with David Ben-Gurion at a UJA event in 1966.
Marjorie Fisher with Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol in 1966.
After her first marriage to George Frehling ended in 1953, she moved from Louisville to Detroit, where she met industrialist Max Fisher. For their first date, he took her to the London Chop House restaurant in Detroit. They were married a year later.

Mrs. Fisher's Southern charm, unerring fashion sense and show-biz good looks won her many friends and admirers in the social circles of Detroit and later, Palm Beach.
But it was helping others that was always her first priority.
Max and Marjorie Fisher with Henry Ford II and his wife, Christina, during a trip to Israel in 1972.
"You are here to help others," she told her children and grandchildren. "Everything in life is based on love and what you can do to help others. The rest is just cream — sometimes sour cream — but it's all cream."

With her husband, she created the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, now the second-largest family foundation in Michigan. She focused on empowering individuals in self sufficiency, providing life-saving resources and supporting human community in all its forms from families to coalitions.
President Reagan with Max and Marjorie Fisher on the occasion of Max's 80th birthday in 1988.
A signed photograph from President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush.
Marjorie Fisher with President Richard Nixon. Credit: Mort Kaye Studios, Inc.
In Palm Beach, Mrs. Fisher was a generous and steadfast donor to charities, including the Preservation Foundation, the Salvation Army, the Town of Palm Beach United Way, the Jewish Federation and the Tooth Fairy mobile children's dental unit of the Palm Beach County Health Department, and was a former board member of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, where she was honored with the Founders Award for her work to improve the lives of children.

"We've lost not only a cherished friend and champion of children, but a community icon," said Bradley Hurlburt, president and CEO at the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties. "Mrs. Fisher epitomized the ideals of a true community servant. Her love for our community was unmatched. She gave generously to what she valued, and has left an impact that will continue to change the world."
Marjorie Fisher greeting Jihan Sadat, the wife of Eyptian President Anwar Sadat. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin looks on.
She also supported the Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, where she paid for the construction of two new clubhouses, one named for husband ("The Max") and one named for her ("The Marge").

"She leaves an amazing legacy of philanthropy, touching so many lives in so many places," said Wally Turner, chairman of the board. "The Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is forever grateful to Marjorie for providing two incredible 22,000-square-foot clubhouses where hundreds of at-risk children go after school each day and in the summer. She wasn't just another check writer, but someone who deeply cared about our children and their outcomes."
A Francesco Clemente portrait of Marjorie Fisher which hung in her Palm Beach home.
In Detroit, the Fisher generosity extended to the Detroit Symphony, the Detroit Zoo, the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, Operation Smile, the Jewish Federation and Wayne State University.

Elsewhere, she was a supporter of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, the American Friends of Hebrew University, the University of Alabama, Brandeis University and Ohio State University.
Marjorie and Max with daughter Jane Sherman in 1987.
Mrs. Fisher is survived by her daughters Mary Fisher, Julie Fisher Cummings, Marjorie Fisher Furman and Jane Sherman; son Philip Fisher; daughter-in-law Lauren Fisher; sons-in-law Peter Cummings, Roy Furman and Larry Sherman; and 37 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Rabbi Harold Loss and Cantor Neil Michaels officiated at the private gravesite service on this past Tuesday.

A public celebration of Mrs. Fisher's life took place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in Orchestra Hall at the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. A reception in the Music Box followed.
Friends and family may call at the residence of Phillip and Lauren Fisher, 1288 W. Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills, from 2 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Religious services will take place at 7 p.m.

Donations in Mrs. Fisher's memory may be made to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201-2444; the Brightmoor Alliance, 17241 Telegraph Road, Detroit, MI 48219; or the Palm Beach County Food Bank, 525 Gator Drive, Lantana 33462.

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