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Phyllis Kahn Fisher

Phyllis Kahn Fisher (March 30, 1919 - May 3, 2009) was the wife of Leon Fisher, who had been the Teaching Excellence Chair of the Association from 2000 to 2006. Phyllis and Leon were regular attendees at the Asilomar confrence and also at numerous events

Phyllis Kahn Fisher was the wife of Leon Fisher, who had been the Teaching Excellence Chair of the Association from 2000 to 2006. Phyllis and Leon were regular attendees at the Asilomar confrence and also at numerous events. We will miss her, and extend our condolences to Leon and their families.

Phyllis passed away peacefully May 3, 2009 surrounded by her loving family at home in Atherton, California, her residence for the last 47 years. She was born March 30, 1919 in Oakland, California. She was the daughter of Sidney and Helen Kahn. She was descended from a pioneer California family and was a fifth generation Californian. Her great grandmother was Cordelia DeYoung, the sister of Michael DeYoung, founder of the San Francisco Chronicle and the DeYoung Museum. She graduated from Lowell High School in 1936. She attended UC Berkeley as an economics major. She persuaded the president of the university to establish the first course at the University on racial relations. She was a leader in the YWCA at Berkeley. She married Leon Harold Fisher on December 21, 1941, who had been a Lowell and UC Berkeley student as well. She was a graduate student in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, completing a certificate in 1942. Her first child, Robert Alan, was born in Berkeley, California.

She and her husband were at the Los Alamos Laboratory from 1944-1946, during World War II, while her husband, a physicist, worked on the development of the atomic bomb. Her second son, Lawrence Edgar, was born in Los Alamos.

She lived for 15 years in River Edge and Oradell, New Jersey where she was very active in the National Council of Jewish Women, including a term as a president of the local chapter. She had two more children, Carol Lee and David Bruce while living in New Jersey.

She moved to California with her family in 1961. After a brave and successful battle against breast cancer in 1963, she decided to return to graduate school. She completed her Masters Degree in Social Welfare in 1965. She then worked as a psychiatric social worker at the Children¹s Health Council in Palo Alto for 13 years, from 1966 to 1979. Her particular interest was in therapy for children, couples and families.

She then spent three years in Tokyo with her husband from 1979 to 1982. She worked at the International School of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo as a counselor and teacher and served as a clinician for the Tokyo Community Counseling Service. She lectured in many countries, including India where she visited Mother Theresa¹s institute in Calcutta, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Japan and the United States. She met survivors and children of survivors of the atomic bomb and visited the Peace Park in Hiroshima. These experiences inspired a book entitled Los Alamos Experience. Alan Cranston wrote the forward. The book has been translated into Japanese. When she returned to California in 1982, she continued in private practice for several years. After her retirement, she was a leader in Senior Division of the Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto.

She is remembered for her warmth, generosity, cheerfulness, optimism, and sense of humor. She devoted her life to caring for her family and providing community service. She was universally loved by family and her many friends all over the world.

She is survived by Leon, her loving husband of 67 years, four children, Robert Alan Fisher of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lawrence Edgar Fisher (Valerie) of Oak Park, Illinois, Carol Lee Fisher Slotnick (Lawrence) of Los Altos, California and David Bruce Fisher (Diane) of Saratoga, California, grandchildren Andy Fisher, Lael Woods, Jody Fisher, Matthew Fisher, Benjamin Slotnick, Rachel Slotnick, Gabriel Slotnick and Danielle Fisher, and Phyllis¹ sister Shirley Rosenberg.

photo: Phyllis Fisher at Asilomar 2005

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