Obituary for Robert Neil Fisher
Robert Neil Fisher (59) of Fall River, Massachusetts passed away in Boston on the morning of Sunday February 12th, 2017. Robert was first our son, brother, and best friend as well as an amazingly creative artist and musician whose warmth and talent touched many around the world. He had been bravely, and quietly fighting cancer for more than a year while continuing to work full time at his day job serving his concierge clients, many of whom he had built personal relationships with. He also worked tirelessly on his greatest passion, his music.
Robert who was born September 9, 1957 in Pasadena, California is survived by his father Lee Albert Fisher (85); mother Janet Loraine Walters (Fisher) 83; brother Lawrence Alan Fisher (56); and sister Elizabeth Ann Fisher (49) as well as many nieces, and nephews, and his beloved grandniece Ashlynn.
Robert, was a creative powerhouse who from childhood often defied convention and authority. Always quick to question anything he didn't understand or agree with, he would revel in the conflict that often occurred as a result. The outlet for his creative energy was his writing which he often attacked as though the ideas had to be written down lest they escape as quickly as they came to him. He would often credit a junior high teacher he had in Goleta, California who told him that, regarding his poetry, he should "write what you know."
Robert was a consummate storyteller to his friends and took great joy in relating stories when he knew the truth to be better than any fiction. Robert celebrated his family history as a third generation native son of California and a double son of the American Revolution. He also didn't shy away from his past. A recovering drug addict and alcoholic, Robert was open about his past and that he had been clean and sober for more than thirty years. He chose the family motto 'Respice finem' as the title of his sixth WGC album 'Regard the End.' The family stories included those of both heroes and rogues which he equally embraced.
During his life, he had been a resident of California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island as well as a frequent traveler. His music took him to the U.K., Europe, Lebanon, Australia and New Zealand, where he amassed a large circle of friends and colleagues. Robert wrote songs and led bands since the 1970’s. After moving to Portland, ME Robert began working with his friend Paul Austin on music projects including the groups Flower Tamers and Laughing Academy which were part of the vibrant music scene in Boston. In 1995 Robert and Paul formed a band with other members from established bands in Boston, and later from around the world, with the idea of working together on music during a weekly living room session. Several members participated anonymously to avoid conflict. This approach became the roots of Willard Grant Conspiracy, a loose collective with Robert at the center which in total featured more than thirty members over the years. As Robert often said ‘If someone says they play with us they probably do.' Robert's singing was described "as though he had already seen, understood and lived through the big picture. A booming baritone, capable of both immense power and heart-breaking subtlety." Throughout his battle with cancer Robert was determined that his 11th full album and last Willard Grant Conspiracy project be completed, and at the time of his death he was working on the final details of the album titled 'Untethered' with his close friend and long-time collaborator, David Michael Curry.
Robert embraced all he did with the wonder and curiosity that were the hallmarks of his deep knowledge of the world around him, his affection for interesting people, food, architecture, history, art, literature, music, and so much more; much of which was acquired while touring, performing, and creating his music. His love for these things was only surpassed by the joy he took in sharing them.
A memorial celebration of Robert's life will take place at noon on Saturday, April 22nd at Once in Somerville, Massachussets. A private ceremony will take place in Southern California. A memorial fund is being established to advance Robert's interest in the preservation and enjoyment of his life's work and music. An announcement on how a gift may be made will be coming soon, however in the meantime memorial gifts may be directed to the family through the email below. We would especially like to thank the close friends who selflessly helped and supported Robert over the past year. Robert particularly appreciated his care and the dignity with which he was treated by the dedicated doctors and staff at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Please direct any thoughts, comments, or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.