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Obituary of Andrew Morgan Fishel
Andrew Morgan Fishel, “Andy” to his family, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 19, 1952, the fourth child of Barbara R. and Leslie H. Fishel. After a fifth child was born 14 months later, the family moved to Oberlin, Ohio, where Andy attended kindergarten and first grade. The family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where Andy graduated from James Madison Memorial High School in 1970. At Findlay College in Ohio, Andy studied sociology and English, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975.
After college, he pursued culinary arts as a career. He worked for Pizza Hut in Ohio, and moved to the Puget Sound area to work at Pizza Huts in Olympia and Tacoma. He obtained a degree in culinary arts from North Seattle Community College in 1986, subsequently moving back to Madison, Wisconsin, to work at Bailiwick’s at the Radisson Inn. He went on to work in various positions at the Quivey’s Grove Restaurant in Madison, and the Richmond Hill Inn, Criterion Grill, and Fine Friends Restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina.
While in Asheville, Andy explored changing careers, twice making the Dean’s List while obtaining a degree in information systems in 2003 at the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. He subsequently moved across the country to Portland, Oregon, and returned to the kitchen to work at McMenamin’s Edgefield Inn.
Andy is remembered as a playful and gentle soul with a big and infectious laugh that would start as a giggle until he could hold back no longer. His giggle and laugh were particularly heard when he beat you in Scrabble. Andy loved words and how they could make you laugh. He was a secret poet who would compose poems and “ditties,” as he called them, to take stock of some part of his life. He once wrote an essay explaining rules for being a “D.O.M.,”an acronym he reveals in the essay’s last lines to mean Dirty Old Man. Being a DOM, Andy wrote, “has its ups and downs, ins and outs, but what a group of like-minded individuals we are. In truth, we are the comedians of the world. Have belly will laugh.”
In another “ditty,” Andy described the summer 1967 and his first job, which was washing dishes at one of the University of Wisconsin’s cafeterias. He wrote: “I had discovered books at an early age. Reading became a favorite way to pass the time. After the noontime meal and dishes were done, I would head toward the library to do some reading and later to take some books home. Sci-Fi was the subject and I read books written by Isaac Asimov, Heilein, Bradbury, and Burroughs just to name a few. I started to notice that girls were nice to look at. And that the windows at the library face the street, so one could sit and read, or sit and watch. I did a lot of watching back then. That is how my summer back in 1967 went. It was a good summer.”
Family was important to Andy. In the many towns and cities he lived and worked, he was always near enough to a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or cousin to enjoy the holidays and celebrate milestones. Although in his last years he was unable to attend family reunions, he had fond memories of past reunions years before, particularly as a boy chasing fireflies, and singing around campfires. In a 2012 poem, Andy wrote:
Always during this momentous time;
It is the family that mattered;
The family that gathered;
The family that sang in joyous harmony;
The family who is you and all you loved as;
Andy is survived by his sisters, Morgan Barry (William Johnson) and Lee Fertitta; and his younger brother, Jeff Fishel (Kari Qvigstad). He is also survived by his nephews, Joshua, Toby, Jacob, Timothy, and Gabriel Fishel; and his nieces, Stefanie Fertitta and AnnElise Fishel. He was preceded in death by his brother, Tim Fishel; his parents, Leslie and Barbara Fishel; and his brother-in-law, Charles Fertitta.
To use Andy’s words, we will, “Sing well and aim those notes toward the heavens to those whom we miss and love forever.”
To honor Andy, a fund has been set up through the Olympia Public Library. Checks need to be made out to "Friends of the Olympia Library" and mailed to 313 8th Ave. SE, Olympia, WA 98501, with a note in the memo line saying "Olympia Library Building Fund - Andrew Fishel Memorial."