Military Supporter Elizabeth Fisher Dies

Story Number: NNS040116-06Release Date: 1/16/2004 12:45:00 PM
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By Journalist 2nd Class Kimberly Rodgers, Navy NewsStand Staff

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Philanthropist Elizabeth Kenowsky Fisher, co-founder of the Intrepid Museum, Fisher House and Fisher Armed Services Foundations passed away Jan. 15. At 90, Elizabeth was most known for her lifetime support and commitment to improving the quality of life for the benefit of members of the armed forces, veterans and their families, in company with her late husband Zachary.

Born in Allegheny County, Pa., Elizabeth served overseas with the United Services Organization in World War II, entertaining troops, volunteering for the Veterans Bedside Network and visiting the wounded in field hospitals.

The Fishers were instrumental in transforming the historic aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV 11) into a floating museum, contributing millions of dollars to the campaign. Because of their tirelss efforts, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum opened in August 1982.

In 1983, Elizabeth, together with Zachary, a former, prominent New York City builder, formed the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation, through which they made significant contributions to families of military personnel lost in the line of duty, including the families of the victims of the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut. The Foundation continues to make contributions of $25,000 to numerous military families who have lost loved ones under tragic circumstances through the establishment of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

In 1990, Mr. and Mrs. Fisher began the Fisher House program, dedicating more than $20 million to the construction of comfort homes for families of hospitalized military personnel, according to Intrepid officials. More than 30 Fisher Houses now operate at military bases and at several Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers throughout the nation, saving families millions in lodging expenses each year.

In 1995, Secretary of the Navy John Dalton made the announcement that the second ship of the Bob Hope-class of sealift ships would be named USNS Fisher (T-AKR 301) in honor of Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, for their commitment to improving the quality of life for our nation's Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Soldiers.

Dalton said, "There is no way to repay the Fishers for their decades of support, but this gesture, naming a ship in their honor - is the Navy's way of saying thank you very much."

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