While I finished my undergraduate degree at Iowa State University over the next three years, we kept in touch. This was before email was ubiquitous so we'd write or call each other a few times a year and I'd usually see him at Midwest each December. My mother remembers talking to Dr. Fischer one summer as he was checking to see if I'd made a decision on graduate school. She reminded me of what a gentleman he was and seemed just as interested in talking to her as he was to me. Eventually in the fall of 1992 I decided to study with Dr. Fischer at UGA.
Dr. Fischer's birthday is one day after mine. As I write this note I am the exact same age, 41, he was when I started studying with him. After four years of studying with Dr. Fischer in Athens from 1992 to 1996 I moved to Oregon to begin my career as a Professor of Music. In spite of living on the other side of the country I was able to see Dr. Fischer frequently. Five times he traveled to Southern Oregon University, where I teach, to perform and give master classes. Four of those trips were for the Siskiyou Saxophone Workshop. Every other year I would see Dr. Fischer at a NASA conference or World Saxophone Congress. I looked forward to seeing him in March 2010. We had many collaborations yet to explore.
I deeply miss my mentor and my colleague. Rhett Bender