April 4, 2011
TRAVERSE CITY — Dr. William A. Fishbeck, "Dr. Bill," of Traverse City, much loved husband, father and grandfather, passed away at Orchard Creek Nursing home on April 4, 2011. He was 85. He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 40 years, Susan Lockwood in 1996. He is survived by his wife, Eleanor Shaw (whom he married in 1998); his daughter, Barbara Fishbeck; son, Mark Fishbeck (Jan); grandchildren, Ally and Sam Fishbeck; and nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved dearly. He lived a life full of purpose and compassion.His parents, Fenton and Esther Fishbeck, and his siblings, Richard Fishbeck, Ruth Fishbeck Zinn and Charles Fishbeck, have all preceded him in death. He was born on a farm outside of Alma on May 16, 1925, and was educated in a one-room school house until the sixth grade when he changed to the Alma school system. He was very active in scouting, sports, music and school government. He received the Eagle Scout award in 1942; was President of the Student Council 1942 to 1943; played varsity in football, tennis and basketball; and played trombone in the junior and senior high bands. He would continue his interests in all of these in his later life.After graduation he served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946 and was in the 71st Infantry Division as mortar squad leader in a rifle company. He saw combat in France, Germany and Austria. He was stationed in Germany at the end of the war and chose to stay behind to help feed the German people before being discharged. He was also on the European theater's championship basketball team.Following the war, he attended General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) from 1946 to 1951 with the help of the GI Bill and received his BME degree in 1951. He used this degree to get a job at Oldsmobile, which is how he paid his way through pre-med at MSU and medical school at U of M from 1953 to 1957. He interned at Munson Hospital and was board certified in family practice of medicine. He practiced family medicine in Traverse City from 1958 to 1972. Dr. Fishbeck also served as county coroner in the first year or two of his practice. He had more than 1,500 families in his practice. His practice has become what is now known as West Front Primary Care.In 1972, Dr. Fishbeck moved his family to Midland, where he began practicing occupational medicine for the Dow Chemical Co. He transferred to Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1981, where he was the Medical Director for the Texas Division of Dow Chemical until 1985. From 1985 to 1986 he was Corporate Medical Director for Dow Worldwide in Midland, as well as the Wellness Director for all of Dow.In his lifetime he served on many boards and volunteered throughout the areas in which he lived. He served on the Salvation Army Board in Traverse City for 10 years and was awarded the "Others" award for his service. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Traverse City; Midland; and Lake Jackson, Texas. He sang in the church choir in all three cities and was the last member of the Charter Choir at the Presbyterian Church in Traverse City. He was President of the Munson Hospital medical staff and President of the Traverse-Leelanau-Benzie Medical Society. From 1984 to 1985 he was the President of the Texas Occupational Medical Society. While living in Midland he served on the Red Cross Board, Midland Community Center Board, Midland Rehabilitation Board, Midland Community Human Relations Board and the Midland Symphony Board. Dr. Fishbeck also headed up the group that established the 1016 House, a residential treatment center for drug and alcohol abuse.Never one to just sit and relax, Dr. Fishbeck had many activities in his retirement. He served in a variety of mentoring capacities for the Traverse City school system and served as a volunteer probation monitor through the Grand Traverse County Probate Court. He served on the Long Lake Association Board and was the first chairman of the Long Lake Foundation Board.But — his love of sports couldn't be denied, even in retirement! Dr. Fishbeck discovered the Senior Olympics and nothing was ever quite the same! He won numerous medals on the state level in basketball and bicycle racing. He participated in three National Senior Olympics, winning a gold medal nationally for basketball the first year it was a medal event.He was a generous and loving husband, father and friend. He gave of himself to everyone he met. Noting his great love of children he was once asked, "Why weren't you a pediatrician?" To which he replied, "But, I like everybody!" And he did, he loved to get to know people and hear their stories and life histories. He found people fascinating and took great joy in all his relationships. When he couldn't remember other things, he could still recount stories about the people he had known and the joy that those people brought to his life. He will be greatly missed.We would like to thank the staff at Orchard Creek Supportive Care for their loving and gentle care. Bless you all.The service will be held at The Presbyterian Church on Westminster Drive in Traverse City at 11 a.m. Friday, April 8, 2011. There will be a visitation with the family from 10 to 11 a.m. prior to the service, and a luncheon at the church following the service. All are invited to attend. The Rev. Becky Chamberlain will be officiating.In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Habitat for Humanity and the Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan. Please sign Dr. Fishbeck's online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
TRAVERSE CITY — Dr. William A. Fishbeck, "Dr. Bill," of Traverse City, much loved husband, father and grandfather, passed away at Orchard Creek Nursing home on April 4, 2011. He was 85. He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 40 years,... View Obituary & Service Information
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