It is said that “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Doug Fisher’s hard work planting those trees for the next generations and the positive contributions to his family, community and agriculture in the watersheds of Central New York will live on well past his journey to the heavens with his family by his side on Aug. 21.

Doug was a graduate of Onondaga Central and SUNY Morrisville. He spent his whole life living and farming in South Onondaga, with most of that supporting agriculture and farming throughout Onondaga County as a stalwart team member of the Onondaga Soil & Water Conservation District. The highly respected 2020 Willard F. Croney Award for Distinguished Service in NYS Conservation Award recipient is credited with the sale and distribution of over 11,750,000 seedlings, planted on 18,500 acres of land.

Fisher developed the first countywide Agricultural Spill Response and Recovery Team, worked on stream enhancement and stabilization projects, collaborated with farmers to implement 3,000 acres of annual strip cropping, led the county’s Ms4 stormwater management program, provided instruction for erosion and sediment control at 128 courses, totaling nearly 3,500 students, carried out the county’s Graze-NY Program, judged Envirothon contests and organized annual farm safety classes. He was recognized for his field work and partnership with local agriculture in receiving the coveted Silver Cow Award.

Agriculture loses a stalwart conservationist

Doug Fisher (R) receiving the 2020 Croney Award. Photo by Troy Bishopp

He helped protect the residents and visitors of South Onondaga by being an active member of the fire department for over 50 years as chief, assistant chief, chief cook and bottle washer, executive committee vice president and, most recently, president.

Doug is survived by his wife Susan, daughters Erica (Ray) Durant, Jessica (Brian) Dzuro and stepson Matthew DeLany, along with five grandchildren: Greta, Giles, Noah, Bryson and Jozlynn. He is also survived by brothers Donald and David, sister Charlene and their families. Thank you for sharing life’s adventures with him. To his many cherished extended family and friends – thank you for sharing your life with him.

Doug shared his thanks to all the farmers that have continued to farm the land and feed the world under such extreme challenges. “I lived a good life and accomplished many things along the way. However, I had my share of regrets as well, and for those I apologize,” he said.

His final affirmation provided to loved ones at his funeral reads as follows: “Fill not your hearts with pain and sorrow, but remember me in every tomorrow. Remember the joy, the laughter, the smiles. I’ve only gone to rest for a while. Although my leaving causes pain and grief, my going has eased my hurt and given me relief. So dry your eyes and remember me, not as I am but as I used to be. Because I will remember you all and look on with a smile. Understand in your hearts, I’ve only gone to rest a while. As long as I have the love of you, I can live my life in the hearts of all of you.”

Donations to honor Doug Fisher can be made to the SPCA, CNY Cat Coalition, the Friends of Marcellus Park or the South Onondaga Fire Department, or you can support the medical team at Boston Medical Center so that they can continue to research the cause and cure for amyloidosis.

by Troy Bishopp