ST. JOSEPH — Glenn Fisher loves St. Joseph-Ogden High School.
For decades, Fisher’s main concern rested in making sure the facilities and sports fields around the high school looked immaculate.
Now, the fields he took such pride in will bear his name.
The St. Joseph-Ogden Board of Education voted during its meeting earlier this week to name its athletic facilities after the longtime custodian, bus driver and volunteer.
So, from here on out, all who enter SJ-O to attend an athletic event will enter the Glenn Fisher Athletic Complex.
For SJ-O Superintendent Brian Brooks, it was an easy choice.
“Glenn is one of the hardest-working, selfless and humble men I have ever come across,” Brooks said.
Brooks started at SJ-O in 2003 as a business teacher and head boys’ basketball coach and thought Fisher — who retired in 1999 — still worked at the school full-time because of his constant presence.
“I saw him outside working on something with the grounds pretty much every day,” Brooks said. “He was doing all that work voluntarily.”
Fisher lent his time for free to the high school for well over a decade and still attends multiple sporting events each year at SJ-O.
Fisher’s longtime friend, Dick Duval, said Fisher deserves the honor. Duval was SJ-O’s football coach for 28 season, compiling a 251-75 record before retiring after the 2015 season.
Duval said Fisher’s dedication to the grounds at SJ-O were undeniable, recalling a moment during the 1998 playoffs. The Spartans opened up with a first-round game against Christopher, winning 36-14 on a rainy night that tore up SJ-O’s field.
Fisher joked with Duval that they didn’t need to worry about making sure the field was ready after that since SJ-O’s next playoff game was at perennial power Central A&M in Moweaqua and that the Spartans would lose. But SJ-O ended up winning 20-13.
Duval said as they approached St. Joseph on the trip home, he could see the lights on at the football field.
“I looked out and there was Glenn, who had raced home to start rolling the field in preparation for our next playoff game,” said Duval, who was honored last month with the football field set to be called Dick Duval Field starting with the upcoming season. “Typical Glenn. He would do anything for the kids.”
Fisher’s friend, Alicia Maxey, said that he took immense satisfaction in the work he put into on the fields. But it wasn’t his personality to boast.
“The football field was his pride and joy,” she said. “It always had to be perfect, but honestly, so did everything else.”
Maxey said Fisher was more than a custodian and groundskeeper. He was a great role model for the students at SJ-O.
“He acts all tough, but underneath he is a kind and gentle soul who would do anything for you,” she said. “Glenn cared so much for the kids and the school. He was always there to lend a hand. To me, I think Glenn represents the person I wish I had as a father. Someone kind, gentle and supportive no matter what.”
Brooks said Fisher subscribes to the old adage of treating others how he would want to be treated.
“He doesn’t care who you are, what your job title is, what color your skin is, what religion you are or where you stand politically,” Brooks said. “He treats people as human beings and enjoys the company of others who treat him in the same manner.”
Former SJ-O Superintendent Jim Acklin agreed.
“If you treated him well he would walk through fire for you,” he said.
Acklin said that Fisher was one of the first people he spoke to when the cross-country team Acklin used to coach returned from the 1993 Class A state meet. The Spartans, who won boys’ cross-country state titles in 1991 and 1992 and a girls’ cross-country state title in 1990 under Acklin’s direction, just missed a trophy that year. Fisher originally started to tease Acklin about the setback, but then Fisher told Acklin that when the athletes do well, they get all the glory. When they do badly, the coaches get the blame. Acklin told Fisher that was probably how it should be.
“He got it,” Acklin said. “He’s amazing and just keeps plugging along.”
Fisher’s friend, Leonard Winchester, said Fisher was his boss when he began driving a bus for SJ-O.
“He made sure the teachers and coaches had everything they needed,” he said. “Even if he had to work Saturdays and Sundays.”
Winchester also said Fisher’s sense of humor is legendary.
“Glenn always liked a good joke, or prank, especially if it was at someone else’s expense, but he could take it, too,” he said. “You aren’t anything if Glen hasn’t given you a hard time.”
Former St. Joseph Mayor B.J. Hackler has known Fisher for more than 50 years.
“You will never find anyone nicer than Glenn Fisher,” he said.
Fisher lost his wife, Mary, in 2017. Hackler’s wife, Dixie, passed away earlier this year.
“That makes your bond a little bit closer when you lose your spouses because you know what each other is going through,” Hackler said.
Now, the good friend and dedicated volunteer has one more accolade to add to his list of lengthy awards he’s received.
“With everything going on in our country right now, we could certainly use more Glenn Fishers, maybe now more than ever,” Brooks said. “There is no one more deserving of this honor than Glenn Fisher.”