Heidelberg’s 10th president, Leslie Fishel Jr., dies

Dr. Leslie Fishel Jr., who became Heidelberg’s 10th president in 1969, died of complications from colon cancer at his Seattle home on Sept. 8, 2010. He was 88.

Leslie FishelDr. Fishel served as president for 11 years, leaving in 1980 to become director of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont. He retired in 1988, and moved to Madison, Wis., where he resided until he became ill.

After graduating from Oberlin College in 1943, he served in World War II. Following his military service, he enrolled in Harvard University, where he earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in history. Dr. Fishel loved to teach and engage the curiosity of students, friends and family. He taught history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later moved into administrative positions in higher education and foundations. Throughout his career, he also served as the alumni director of Oberlin and director of the state Historical Society of Wisconsin.

Dr. Fishel was active in his community. He was a founding member of the Urban League of Greater Madison, a member and two-term moderator of First Congregational Church and a member of the Rotary Clubs of Tiffin and Fremont. He was on the board of a number of small colleges and historical associations.

On June 30, 1943, Dr. Fishel married his college sweetheart, Barbara Gene Richards, who survives. They are the parents of five children, Morgan Barry, Lee Fertitta, Andy Fishel, Jeff Fishel and Tim Fishel, who is deceased, and seven grandchildren.

The family plans a memorial service in Madison at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to any of the following: Timothy R. Fishel Memorial Funds at the University of Washington School of Law, the Leslie and Thelma Fishel Scholarship Fund at Heidelberg; the Gertrude H. & O. Mark Richards Scholarship Fund at Oberlin, First Congregational Church Foundation in Madison or the Wisconsin Historical Foundation, Society Library.

Posted on: 
Sep 20, 2010