Farragut and West Knoxville lost a “pillar of the community” Wednesday, Sept. 30, with the passing of Ray Fisher Jr., 77, founder and owner of Fisher Tire Company Inc.
Those who knew him shared the impact Fisher has made as a Christian businessman and boss, member of The Rotary Club of Farragut, Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce and Central Baptist Bearden, supporter of Mission of Hope ministry and Fellowship of Christian Athletes — plus a true friend and giving neighbor.
“Ray was 77 years old and he’s loading trucks (for Mission of Hope),” said Rich Levenson, co-owner of Knoxville Remax Realty, and Ray’s neighbor. “The guy had a passion like nobody else just to give back. Having him as a neighbor has just been insanely great.”
“I know many of you have been impacted by Ray as I have,” RCF member Scott Brockamp said. “He was a great leader in our community.”
Fisher has been described as a kind, Christian man with a passion for giving.
“He was very present, very humble, always there — but in the background,” said Mark Moreland, CBB Minister of Pastoral Care, about Mr. Fisher. “He was not one of those up-front, showy kind of people.
“There’s a Bible verse about walking humbly with the Lord, your God,” he added. “To me, Ray’s one of those people.
With Mission of Hope, “I would see him down at the warehouse working different times, getting ready, and I would see him on the delivery teams that would go into Kentucky,” Moreland said.
Mr. Fisher also worked with Royal Ambassadors, the church’s mission program for boys, Moreland said. While the mission existed, “He was one of those few men who stepped up to the plate to do that program with our young boys.”
Edward Jones, current RCF president, also witnessed Fisher’s faith and recalled seeing him at a Bible Study Fellowship, an international, non-denominational event.
“Ray really loved Bible study,” Jones said. “He always had a revelation or something of interest he could share.”
Ray, who had traveled to the Holy Land twice, was impacted with each memorable visit.
“He never met a stranger,” Jones said. “He got along well with everybody. I never saw him angry with anyone.”
“We recently recognized him as a Paul Harris + Four,” he added, explaining when a member gives a gift of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation, that individual is recognized as a Paul Harris fellow. “Well, he contributed four times that.”
“He was a giant in the community,” RCF Public Relations chairman Tom King said. “He was 77 but was working as hard and harder than many others” at a recent RCF event.
“He was a great ambassador for Rotary, and our club and Rotarians in Knoxville’s other clubs will miss him,” he added.
King, who knew Ray for about 15 years, and Levenson, who knew Fisher more than 30 years, both described Mr. Fisher as “a giver — never a taker.”
Julie Blaylock, FWKCC president/CEO), remembered when she started with the Chamber in 2012 and first met Ray at a networking.
“He told me all about the Chamber,” she said. “... When you hear somebody speak so positively about an organization that you’re new at and you belong to, it starts to build that foundation of confidence and faith, and it really made me want to do a good job and have an impact, if I could, that was as positive as the impact I saw that he had.”
Mr. Fisher didn’t donate his time and money randomly — he volunteered every Tuesday at Mission of Hope.
“Brother Ray Fisher was another one of those mentoring heroes that God placed directly and timely in my life journey path, and I am humbly grateful that He did,” said Emmette Thompson, Mission of Hope executive director who had known Ray for about 10 years.
“He was a good person, he was a good boss. he was a good friend,” Fisher Tire Company office administrator Susie Crabtree said.
“If you met him one time, he would remember you.”
“Ray was a really well-respected businessman in the community and had been forever,” said Tim Williams, Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair-Farragut operations manager.
“Ray Fisher exemplified the love of Jesus Christ,” said Doug Horne, owner of Doug Horne Properties and Republic Newspapers, Inc., which owns farragutpress. “He was a good servant and leader of the Farragut and Knoxville communities.”
Ray was out walking with his wife, Jackie Fisher, Sunday, Sept. 27, when he suffered a massive stroke.