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U.S. Steel exec made most of retirement

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Marcus Melvin Fisher, 97, died peacefully Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, at his home in Ben Avon, surrounded by his family and friends.

Marcus M. Fisher, the grandson of a Civil War drummer boy, beat a rhythm of his own — rising from the Depression to the upper offices of U.S. Steel and on as a family man, real estate investor, lawyer, gardener and musician in his half-century of retirement.

Fisher died Sunday in his home in Ben Avon. He was 97.

“He just loved to tell stories, and I loved to listen to them,” said his niece, Mary Kennedy Wong, 70, of West Chester. “Marcus had a great sense of humor, and he did accomplish a lot.”

Born Jan. 31, 1916, in Reynoldsville, Jefferson County, Fisher was the oldest of five children of the late Melvin Marcus Fisher and Anna Hice Fisher. He attended public schools in Collingdale, Delaware County, and later worked his way through the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School of Business, New York University and Duquesne University.

Fisher worked a number of jobs to support his family during the Depression, including at a Philadelphia-area hospital where he got to drive an ambulance and help with an autopsy, family members said.

After graduating from Wharton, Fisher joined U.S. Steel's American Steel & Wire Division operation in Worcester, Mass., in 1938 as a trainee. He later moved between New York and Pittsburgh as he rose from junior statistician to Administrative Vice President—Accounting.

He retired at 55.

Fisher and his first wife, Ruth, had three children, including John Fisher of San Francisco, who survives.

After her death, Fisher married his second wife, Juliana. She died in 2010. Surviving are Fisher's step-daughters, Sarah Wilson, 45, of Edgewood and Emma Kapp, 44, of Regent Square.

“He started at the bottom and worked himself all the way up,” Wilson said. “He said, ‘Once you get to the top, all you do is shuffle paper.' ”

While with U.S. Steel, Fisher put himself through Duquesne law school and worked some as a private attorney in retirement. He also opened a real estate company.

Fisher was part of an investment club of retired men who discussed stocks at a McDonald's in Bellevue. He and other retirees formed a band. Fisher was the drummer.

“And he loved to sing,” Wong said.

Organic gardening was a passion, as were his pets, Kapp said.

Fisher was a member of the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Financial Executives Institute, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the National Association of Accountants, the Duquesne Club, the YMCA and the Edgeworth Club. He belonged to the Community Chest of Allegheny County and was vice chairman of its operations committee.

“He had quite the life,” Kapp said. “But the one thing that stands out most is that he helped so many people. He was a friend to so many.”

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday in McDonald-Linn Funeral Home, 529 California Ave., Avalon. Funeral services will be held there at 11 a.m. Friday.

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

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