Honoring Ward Fisher, Founding Board Member of Casa Central



Ward Fisher, 91

Casa Central board member, WWII veteran, lawyer and activist


Ward Phelps Fisher, Casa Central's longest serving Board Member, died peacefully on March 22, 2017. The 91-year-old Oak Park resident was a longstanding supporter of Casa Central, devoting 63 years of his life to serving the agency. He was an advocate for Casa Central since its inception, and worked hard to ensure that Casa Central's mission and values were being carried out through its programs. Casa Central Board President Dr. Rosita Lopez worked with him extensively while serving on the Board of Directors and says, "He was a beloved friend, treasured historian, and wise leader." 

"Until the very end he never stopped making a difference," says Lopez. "Ward was always gracious and loved his work. He loved to dance, to laugh, and was an avid tennis player. When I picked him up at 7:00 a.m. for our last retreat meeting on February 24th, he shared that he tried to do as many as a 100 push-ups every morning! That morning, he made it to 84 because he didn’t want to be late. I remain in awe of this man. "

Born on May 26, 1925, Ward Fisher was an Eagle Scout and enlisted in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He received his B.S. from Northwestern University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School in 1952. 

In 1947, he married his high school sweetheart, Rita Guerrieri, who was an educational psychologist. A natural leader, he was a passionate defender of truth, justice, and freedom. He fought in the courts and in life for social justice and individual and civil rights. 

He was dedicated to the Oak Park-River Forest community. He served on the Oak Park District 97 school board, the Oak Park Township Youth Commission, and helped negotiate the merger of First Congregational Church of Oak Park and First Presbyterian Church of Oak Park, which became First United Church of Oak Park. A proponent of Open Occupancy in the 1960s and '70s, within the last few years he was an active supporter of Scouts for Equality. 

In the 1950s, '60s and '70s, he was involved with the West Side Christian Parish. He was the longest serving active founding trustee of Casa Central, served on the board of the Hispanic Housing Corporation, and was involved in Chicago's historic Poor Peoples' Campaign and Marches. 

He practiced law in Illinois for more than 60 years and litigated many cases on behalf of individuals, small business, churches and nonprofit organizations. He was on the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission for 18 years and served on the Judicial Inquiry Board. 

Ward Fisher is survived by his daughters, Joan Carroll (Rick), Lynn Fisher (David Kundla), and Karen Fisher, who is a current Director of Casa Central's Board of Director; his grandchildren, Lindsay, Chelsea, Giancarlo and Margarita; and his great-grandson, Griffin. 

Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 6 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams, 203 S. Marion St. in Oak Park. A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 7 at 4 p.m. at First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake St. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Ward P. Fisher Memorial Fund at Casa Central, www.casacentral.org, 1343 N. California Ave., Chicago 60622. Contributions to Casa Central can also be made online by donating here.

"Ward Fisher, 91." Articles | News | OakPark.com. Journal of Oak Park and River Forest, 28 Mar. 2017. Web. 30 Mar. 2017. <http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/3-28-2017/Ward-Fisher,-91/>.

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