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Joseph D. Fish, Jr.


December 19, 2019


On December 16, 2019 Joseph D. Fish, Jr., formerly of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, passed away at his home in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania surrounded by his family and cherished cats, Spaulding and Franco. He was proceeded in death by his wife, Susan Fish, his parents Joseph D. Fish, Sr. and Florence, and his sisters Martha Ann d’Agostino and Florence Patricia Fulton, and his nephew Robert E. Fulton, Jr. He is survived by two daughters and their husbands, Amy and Kevin Johnson of Paoli, Pennsylvania and Cyndi and Eric Wetmiller of Selinsgrove, as well as seven grandchildren—Emilie Johnson, Chloe Johnson, Mollie Johnson and her husband Janko Mamrilla, Trevor Johnson, Sam Wetmiller and Henry Wetmiller. He is also fondly remembered by his nephew Mark d’Agostino and his wife Adele of Baltimore and their two children Dominic and Derek; his nephew Edward d’agostino of Moorestown, NJ and his niece Patricia Fulton Abate and her husband Anthony and their two sons, Anthony and Bobby, of Haddonfield, NJ.  Born in Camden, New Jersey on June 11, 1932, Joseph fondly remembered his childhood in Camden playing stick ball in the streets on Trenton Avenue and his education at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia. After graduating from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School he attended St. Joseph’s University and later received his  Masters Degree in Business from Boston College. During his career he worked for RCA and Westinghouse in Wilkins Township, Waltz Mills, the Energy Center in Monroeville and Rocky Flats in Colorado.  On April 27, 1963 Joseph married the love of his life, Susan. In Pittsburgh they met at what once was the former “Elbow Room” on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. When speaking of this night he would often say he met Susan “in a bar” and she would correct him and say “It was a political function.” He fondly remembered the night he met Susan and how they danced the night away. He told everyone that he knew she was “the one” that first night they met. Over the years Joe and Susan had many close friends from Blackridge, the neighborhood where they lived in the Churchill area of Pittsburgh. Long lasting friendships also stemmed from their involvement with their church, St. James Episcopal in Penn Hills, and Churchill Area School District where his daughters attended school. A lover of John Phillips Sousa, he was ecstatic that both of his daughters were in the marching band. He and Susan were very active in the Churchill Band Parents and also the swim teams at Churchill Area High School and the Blackridge Swim Club, a community pool he helped to build in the 1970s. To this day kids are still using the swim team starting blocks Joe built in his garage during the 70s.  Joe was famous for crafting the infamous white wooden fish that marked his house and was surrounded by flowers and plants lovingly planted every year by Susan to make the fish a showcase. In the 1990s he installed a used parking meter in his driveway as a joke. Between the fish and the parking meter everyone knew where the Fish family lived!


In 1956 Joseph entered the Air Force as a Second Lieutenant and remained in the Air Force Reserves until his military retirement in 1982 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Joe loved being in the military and told lots of stories about catching a cargo plane to various parts of the world during his time off. Anyone who spent any time with “Joe” or “Mr. Fish” as many liked to call him, knew that he loved airplanes. If a plane flew overhead he would always stop whatever he was doing and ask anyone he was with what kind of plane it was, knowing full well he was in fact the only one who could identify a plane of any kind as it flew overhead. Joe was also a huge fan of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and frequented many air shows just to see the display of these planes and pilots in the air. His first stint in the military actually began in the summer of 1942 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey when he joined his father and other men on the roof of the movie theater hoping to spy a German or Japanese fighter plane pop out of the sky or a submarine emerge from the Atlantic Ocean.  A lover of history and poetry, on the 18th of April he always referred to and often recited “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This tradition continued until his last April 18th in 2019. Trips to Boston with his children and grandchildren always included a stop at the Old North Church, Lexington and Concord. When his children were young he read some of his own favorite childhood books to them, from Penrod to Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and Sherlock Holmes. Joe had a way of making any poem or story come to life, a gift he shared with all of his grandchildren.  His recitation of “The Night Before Christmas” was an annual tradition no matter which daughter and set of grandchildren he was visiting at Christmas. When his daughters were still small enough to sit on his lap he often read the poem “The Children’s Hour” by Robert Louis Stevenson and had tears in his eyes as he finished the poem because his daughters truly were his heart and joy. In the year after his beloved wife died, he decided to read the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes again. He enjoyed every story as if it was the first time reading it.  Joe was a true fan of the Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, Pitt football and basketball. He also followed St. Joe’s basketball, but when Pitt played St. Joe’s that was the only time he didn’t favor Pitt in a game or tournament. He was a regular at the Fitzgerald Field House watching Pitt play basketball and Pitt Stadium during the days of Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett. More than anything, Joe was a fan of all the schools and teams his children and grandchildren were a part of growing up. He was always their biggest fan.  New Jersey was Joe’s favorite place aside from any place his wife, children and grandchildren happened to be. Stone Harbor was a place endeared to him from his summers there as a life guard and tennis player on the clay courts of 82nd street. It was also the place he taught his daughters to ride the waves and build sandcastles.


Joe loved Springer’s Ice Cream and it is safe to say that his love of chocolate ice cream began at Springer’s and remained with him until he died. Ice cream always made everything better, unless donuts were available! He read numerous books on the Jersey
Devil and loved the lore of the Pine Barrens. He took many drives with Susan through the Pine Barrens and often referred to this area whenever anyone mentioned anything about New Jersey. It was his opinion that a person has not truly lived unless they visited the Jersey Pine Barrens. Every time he ate blueberries he would always ask “Are they from Jersey?” That’s just how much he loved New Jersey.  During the dark days after Susan died, Joseph found solace in his favorite television show, Doc Martin. Whenever he felt like he couldn’t bear another day without his beloved wife, Doc Martin on his smart tv would always cheer him up. One of his final wishes was that some of his ashes be scattered in the waters of Port Isaac where Doc Martin is filmed. The rest of his remains will be interred with the ashes of Susan in the graveyard at the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, PA at a later date. It was his desire that only a graveside service with immediate family take place. As Joseph would often say, “It is what it is.” That is how he lived and that is how he wanted to be remembered in his death.

In lieu of flowers, help us remember Joseph by sending donations to the Clean Water mission of his church, Christ Wesleyan in Milton. If sending a check please write Clean
Water & Joseph Fish Memorial on the memo line of your check and make it out to
CWC. Donations can be sent to:

Christ Wesleyan Church
363 Stamm Road
Milton PA 17847

Or you can give online:

https://www.cwc.life/give-clean-water

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