Coach Robert Fisher and his wife Linda, will lead the Christmas in Swanton Parade on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The parade theme is All-Star Christmas and will include the Swanton and Delta High School Marching Bands, floats from area businesses and organizations, and Santa Claus.
“We selected the Fishers as this year’s grand marshals for their years of dedication to the community, especially to the youth here,” said Mike Rochelle, Christmas in Swanton Chairperson. “Coach Fisher has had a tremendous impact on the students he coached and taught. We all know that the hours a coach spends away from his family are grueling, it takes a truly patient, caring person like Linda to share her husband with the kids of this community for so many years.”
Robert Fisher, who grew up in Crestline, Ohio, attended Morehead College in Morehead, Ky. where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in education. He went on to earn his Masters’ Degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati in 1967. He taught and coached at Laurel High School in Laurel, Ind., Brookeville High School, Brookeville, Ind., Norwalk St. Paul and Lima Central Catholic before he landed in Swanton 1976.
It was then that Coach Fisher started his stint as the Swanton High School boys basketball coach. During that time he produced teams that won six league championships, six sectional championships, and two district championships. He has been recognized as District Coach of the year twice and NWOAL Coach of the Year.
He also was the head track coach. In track, he saw three league championships and a sectional and district championship as well. He was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at his home school, Crestline, in 2004 and into Swanton’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. In addition to coaching basketball and track, he assisted with the football program under head football coach, and his very good friend, Dave Hansbarger.
As a coach, Fisher was known for his tough-love approach. His expectations of his players were high, but his care and concern for each of them was equally deep.
“He could yell at them, but he couldn’t bear to hear anyone else say anything bad about one of his kids. And he did call them all ‘his’ kids,” recalls his wife Linda.
Coach Fisher married Swanton native, Linda Kern 30 years ago. The Fishers raised four children in Swanton; Kelly, Rob, Gwen, and Matthew. They attribute the successes their own children have experienced to the outstanding learning foundation they received at Swanton Schools.
When Coach Fisher was told he had been selected for the grand marshal honor, he hesitantly accepted, humbly alluding to the fact that the students he worked with throughout his career are due the credit for his success as a coach and educator. “This is a great community to raise kids, there really are some of the best kids here. Swanton has the best,” he said.
The Fishers now enjoy spending time with their eight grandchildren who range in age from 1 to 18 years old. Although retired, you can still find Coach Fisher roaming the halls of Swanton Middle and High School as he is a regular substitute teacher. Although trying to slow down for this chapter of their lives, Coach continues to help with the Athletic Boosters, a group that he was very active with over the years.
Christmas in Swanton will kick-off at the Elks Lodge on N. Main Street, where a hot breakfast will be served from 7 to 10 a.m. Lunch will be available to purchase at the high school after the parade.
The craft show and sale will begin at 10 a.m. and will be open until 4 p.m. Crafters from all over the region will be selling creative and unique holiday gifts. The craft show will be at Swanton High School.
Santa will be available to listen to holiday wishes in the High School Auditorium 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Santa’s visit is hosted by the Swanton Fire Department.
The Friends of the Swanton Public Library will sponsor a presentation by Toledo Zoo and Aquarium complete with a touch tank at 1 p.m. in the Auditorium.
Christmas in Swanton will once again feature a food drive hosted by the OURCCL. Non-perishable food items will be accepted at the high school the day of the event. All donations will go to the Swanton Food Pantry.
Many other activities will be going on at the high school throughout the day including; children’s crafts, cookie decorating, wagon rides and a model train display by Swanton Model Train Club.