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Lee was a devoted husband to Norma and a loving Dad to Valerie and Tina. He was also a proud Grandpa to Mat, Darrin and Katie and an even prouder Great Grandpa to Camryn, Gavin, Carly, Megan, Nora and Harper.
Lee spent his 37 year career as a firefighter. First he was a member of the Forestry Service for several years and then 35 years with the City of Orange Fire Department working himself up within the ranks to become Captain and acting Battalion Chief.
Born during the great depression to Leo and Clara Fischbach in Chowchilla, CA, Lee had memories of tough times. He remembered his dad turning the car off at the top of a hill and coasting down to save gas. He also remembered being embarrassed by the homemade bread on his school sandwiches because most of the other kids had the store-bought kind. But, how he wished he had some of his Grandmother’s bread when he got older.
Lee had a lifetime love for the Sierra Nevada mountains. He spent some of his early childhood in Fishcamp, CA, at the entrance to Yosemite National Park. For some years his Dad and Mom ran the general store in the remote town just outside of the park and he and his two brothers attended a one room school house there. A favorite memory of his younger years was Sunday picnics in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite with his family.
In later years as a young man with the Forestry Service in the Sierra’s he remembered a man coming into the Forestry Station asking to borrow a ladder. Dad refused, but one of the other fireman there recognize the man as the famous photographer, Ansel Adams, and they made an exception to lend him a ladder.
A bigger than life man, for many years Lee was often seen around town carrying his small white poodle, first Peaches and then PJ. His love of animals was part of his nature and on more than one occasion Lee went back into a burning house to rescue a family’s dog. There was at least one occasion where he actually gave a dog “mouth to mouth” resuscitation. Lee also had a great love of flying, first with the Orange County Flyers club and then later as a proud owner of his own airplane. He was an excellent pilot and it was not unusual for Lee to ask his friends or member of the family to go flying with him to just “bore holes” in the clouds.
Lee met Norma when he was transferred to the Forestry Service Headquarters in Orange. The cute blonde caught his eye and he asked friends to introduce them. They married in 1953 and were together for 51 years raising two daughters until Norma passed away in 2005. Lee never got over her loss and always spoke lovingly and fondly about “Mommy”.
Captain “Fish” was one of a kind and the last of the old time firemen who were the foundation of the City of Orange Fire Department. His badge number was Number 9. He worked house fires, terrible road accidents, horrendous plane crashes, and wildfires and was always proud of his calling as a firefighter.
Lee, your friends and mostly your family will always miss you and always keep you in their hearts.