Obituary: GERALD ED FISCUS
January 30, 1937 – April 17, 2022
Gerald Ed Fiscus, frequently called Gerry by his Alaskan bluegrass and Old-Time Country Music friends, followed Hank Snow, Bill Monroe, Chet Atkins and Merle Haggard into the Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music Heaven Hall of Fame on April 17, 2022 after a long wonderful life raising a family of 3 children and 6 grandchildren with his wife Sandy.
Gerald was born on January 30, 1937 to Glen (Tex) and Dorothy (Philp) Fiscus in Burns, Wyoming. He was the oldest of eight children including Bonnie, Sherril, Ralph, Arnold (passed), Bernice, Marsha (Dan), and Merle (passed). Gerald grew up in New Raymer, Colorado, on a dry land cattle ranch where he enjoyed working for neighbors like Miss Best and Red Caster. Encouraged by his family and friends, Gerald went to college and in 1963 fell in love with Sandra Rechnitz, the prettiest darn square dance partner at Colorado State University. They had three of the most incredible children ever including Scot, Tod, and Robin. Gerald went on to earn a Doctorate in educational administration from the University of Wyoming.
Living and working in Alaska was a dream for Gerald ever since he and classmates Danny Stanley and Bob Allen left on their senior trip headed North to the Future but turned around half-way there because Danny decided there was too much rain. Ultimately, after teaching agriculture in high school and college, Gerald was hired as superintendent of schools in Hoonah, Alaska and followed his dream North. After moving to Juneau, he worked as a loan officer, an extension agent for the University, and with the State Department of Natural Resources
The 1977expedition to Alaska began with the drive from Colorado north through Canada. Gerald’s parents drove a pickup and camper pulling a 16-foot boat filled with personal belongings. Gerald followed in his 1959 pink VW bug with Scot and Tod cleaning spark plugs over every mountain pass and Sandy caring for eight-month-old Robin. The family spent a year in Hoonah building a school and hiring teachers, then moved to Juneau. Upon arriving at the downtown Juneau ferry terminal, they were offered a unique opportunity to care-take the remote Alaska-Juneau Gold Mine property five miles South of town. Gerald loved this beach location on Thane Road looking out at the whales in Gastineau Channel.
Gerry was a fiddle player extraordinaire and member of several bands. He attended every Alaska Folk Festival from 1977-2020 and hosted any musician needing a place to stay, including Yukon musicians Art Johns and his family. In 1986 Gerald and Sandy moved into town and bought a big open home where they hosted dozens of jam sessions. Gerry knew hundreds of fiddle tunes, had thousands of recordings, and could hear a tune once and play it. We will not hear a Bill Monroe, Merle Travis, or Hank Snow tune without thinking of him. Other band members told him he was the only real cowboy they knew.
Gerald was one of the most generous men in town and enjoyed supporting the Gloryhole Homeless Shelter by joining folks for meals and hiring those who needed jobs. Outside of helping others, Gerry’s love of bluegrass ran so deep in his soul, we’re convinced that’s all he ever thought or dreamt about.
We’re pretty sure in his Last Days On Earth, Gerry Saw The Light and Heard Them Callin when that Orange Blossom Special under a Blue Moon of Kentucky came with Uncle Penn, Old Joe Clark, Jimmy Brown and all Jerry’s musician friends Close By singing Y’all Come and Reachin Down their Hands for Him, Gerry decided it was Time to Roll On, Going Back To Ole Kentucky. He passed on with Roy Rogers blazing a stagecoach full of Indians under a backdrop of “I Been Everywhere Man”. To all who knew Gerry, thank you for keeping the music going On and On.