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Maryland woman made progress after stroke, but her death of coronavirus ‘broke our hearts’


Fisher died April 15 of complications related to the coronavirus, according to her family. She suffered from diabetes, heart problems and other medical issues related to her stroke.

Born in New Jersey, Fisher’s parents were immigrants from Liechtenstein. She grew up as the only child in a German-speaking household where her father was a carpenter and her mother worked as a home health aide and hairdresser.

After high school, Fisher went to the University of Miami, studied aboard in Switzerland and later transferred and graduated from New York University with a degree in German.

She lived in Manhattan and worked as a secretary for an executive search firm. Fisher met Tom, who was a television technician, through friends at a Christmas party and their first date was attending the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

The couple married in 1963 and had a daughter. Her husband said Fisher was “beautiful, smart, witty and courageous.”

“I really married up,” he said.

The couple eventually moved to Gaithersburg. Over the years, they traveled to the United Kingdom, Spain and Japan. They also enjoyed family vacations to Deep Creek Lake in Maryland and the American Southwest.

Fisher’s husband said she enjoyed local museums and was involved in a garden club. She was known for making preserves for friends and family from the raspberries and elderberries she grew. Her husband said she was always well-dressed with “matching jewelry to go with every outfit.”

An avid bridge player, Fisher often teased her husband that he “wasn’t good enough” to play with her and her friends.

“Everybody wanted to be her partner in bridge,” said her daughter, Nancy Hansen. “She was very good.”

Fisher had gone to a Rockville nursing home about a year and a half ago to recover after a stroke and had made significant progress. Hansen, 55, of Rockville, said it was devastating to lose her mother to the coronavirus because she already had gone through so much.

“She had gone from being in hospice and bedridden to getting up in a wheelchair and playing bridge again,” Hansen said. “Her brain came back. My dad and I had thought she was gone and we had lost her with the stroke, but she came back.”

Her husband last saw Fisher in mid-March before coronavirus restrictions shut down visitation at the facility where she was living. Although the nurses and aides would help her call her husband and daughter, he said, it was often hard to hear her.

Fisher became ill with the coronavirus on Easter Sunday, suffering from fever and low oxygen levels, Hansen said. She and Fisher’s grandson used FaceTime to play duets — she on piano and him on trombone — for Fisher so she could hear them. Hansen said she hopes her mom “found some comfort in it.”

Three days later, she died.

“We never really had a chance to say goodbye to her,” Tom Fisher said. “It really broke our hearts.”


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