Sixty nine years ago, Phyllis Ryan Fisher was born in Toronto to a loving and resourceful mother who in post war years either cared directly for Phyllis or made sure she was nurtured in wonderful homes surrounded by people who “adopted” her into their families.
Small Town Girl
Although Phyllis was an only child she collected moms and dads and sisters along the way that enriched her life and helped mold her into the lady she grew to be. This small-town girl loved the water and the Kawartha Lake country where she grew up and never forgot the friends who all loved her as a local girl who was going to make her mark in life.
Rev. Bruce and Phyllis Fisher served with distinction as the 20th senior pastors of North Pointe (Central Tabernacle) from May 1990 until February 1994.
During three wonderful years in Bible College she made friends that have cared about and reached out to Phyllis for the rest of her life. The tributes expressed recently via social media are testament to the way she could welcome people into her life and love them as family.
The Gift Of Life
Phyllis was struck with serious illness soon after college and met the challenge of committing her vows to Bruce Fisher by asking to be released from hospital the night before her wedding and then returning to a rigorous schedule of kidney dialysis after a couple of days honeymooning in Niagara Falls in October of 1968.
Phyllis eventually received a kidney from an unknown donor, whose family in their grief from losing a daughter in a fatal Toronto car accident, contributed the gift of life to a critically ill, unknown recipient. They probably do not know that their gift kept our Phyllis alive and in excellent renal health for over thirty years.
From these challenging days just to stay alive, Phyllis was to begin a journey that defied the best predictions of her dedicated doctors. They suggested that she would never be far away from the health support of the medical community in Toronto, never be a mother, probably not live for many years as transplantation was a relatively new development in medical science, and certainly not take on the responsibilities of a career.
In hindsight, we can now detail that Phyllis was not only able to be released from her caring medical community in Toronto, she ended up moving to Kingston, Ontario, Lyttleton, Saint John and Moncton, all in New Brunswick, Montreal, Quebec and then to Edmonton, Alberta.
She shared her love with wonderful congregations of these towns and cities and gained innumerable friends along the way. During these years she accepted and functioned at a high level as a pastor’s wife, encourager-in-chief to many young people, led bible studies, taught Sunday School, counseled those whose trust she accepted and cherished.
Phyllis went on the be a preacher in her own right and was recognized by her denomination by being ordained. Phyllis also moved to and lived in Sylvan Lake and Ponoka during her tenure as a chaplain.
Loving Mom And Grandmother
In 1972 Phyllis became mother to her son Shawn. Her gifts as a mom were evident immediately and she couldn’t wait to receive her daughter, Robyn in 1975. Phyllis took hold of her home and welded four unrelated-by-blood members into the loving family that she presided over to her death.
With equal enthusiasm, she embraced the arrival of grandsons Kaiden and Ryland, then later, Hailey and Hannah. Who could have ever known that this family would come into being and be glued together by the love and encouragement of this extraordinary lady besought by illness most of her life.
Chaplain And Guide
When Bruce was sidelined by illness for many years, Phyllis just got on with life and fashioned a career in Chaplaincy that saw her associate with wonderful supervisors and fellow students and then go on be a practical guide and encourager to so many in health institutions and prison facilities.
While balancing a home and career and addressing medical challenges, Phyllis pursed and obtained a Masters Degrees in her field.
A Second Gift Of Life
It was during this time that Phyllis developed a circle of professional friends with whom she stayed closely in touch for the rest of her life, Caroline, Lynn and Lorna, self titled the “Sunshine Ladies”.
It was also during this time that another fellow professional, Karen McLeod, extended to Phyllis the gift of life by becoming a living donor and giving one of her own kidneys after Phyllis’s original kidney failed. The Fishers will be forever grateful to Karen.
Woman Of Hope
Phyllis will always be remembered for her zest for life and the wonderful contributions she made to so many people over the years. She is survived by husband Bruce, son Shawn and daughter-in-law, Kristin, daughter Robyn, grandsons Kaiden and Ryland and granddaughters Hailey and Hannah.
Phyllis was wife, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother extraordinaire. She is already missed so much. BF
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