CEDARVILLE — Law enforcement, family, and friends from across Ohio gathered at the Dixon Ministry Center Wednesday to honor and pay their respects to Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer, who died unexpectedly last week.
The service, held at Cedarville University, was attended by approximately 500. Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth spoke about his long friendship with Fischer and how they both enjoyed interacting with the community.
Newly appointed Sheriff Scott Anger talked about his deep love and respect for Fischer, who touched many lives in his 66 years. That love and respect was also expressed in the eulogies of Pastors Mark Brooks, A House of Prayer (AHOP) Church and Mark Atherton, Xenia Nazarene Church, who quoted many passages from the Bible.
Much was spoken of Fischer’s love of family, his faith, and his involvement in the Greene County Fair each year; how he looked forward to it “like a kid at Christmas.” His support of children’s sport teams, 4-H projects, and young amateur radio enthusiasts is well known but to most, he was really “just a great guy who always had a smile and time to listen,” according to those who spoke.
“The service was very well represented, his life and tenure, very true to who he was,” said Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton.
Following the service, a long caravan of sheriff SUVs, police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances from across the tri-state made its hour-long drive to Byron Cemetery, taking the back roads leading out of Cedarville where well-wishers, school kids, neighbors, friends, and curious onlookers stood at attention. At least 100-200 saluted, put their hands over their hearts, and waved flags of every size, happy to express their support and solidarity to a man considered a friend first and county leader second.
As the first vehicles arrived at Byron Cemetery they were led in by a rider-less horse. The interment ceremony opened with Amazing Grace, performed by the Sheriff’s Pipes and Drums Band. Followed by a 21-gun salute, Taps, and the folding and presenting of the flag to Fischer’s widow, Gail. There was a final “radio call.”
Many city, county, and state officials were in attendance, including Gov. Mike DeWine. Retired deputy Timothy Caldwell, a member of the Pipes and Drum Band, insisted on playing his drums for Fischer one last time. Caldwell, who is terminally ill, spent 43 years as a deputy sheriff in Licking County and wanted his last act to be of service to Fischer and see his brothers in blue show up for one another.
“It was a beautiful ceremony, it was a great tribute to Gene, he did things for everybody,” said Michael Hild Sr., academy commander at the Greene County Criminal Justice Academy at the Greene County Career Center. “Gene came to our graduation for correction officers about three weeks ago. He also spoke at our basic academy and talked to the students numerous times a year. The students were struck by the idea that he was so taken by them being successful.”
Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.