John Frederick "Fred" Fish

A Tribute


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John Frederick "Fred" Fish

June 15, 1925 - October 7, 2002

I sent this e-mail to friends on October 7, 2002 at 5:31 AM:

John Frederick Fish (June 15, 1925 - October 7, 2002) went home to be with his LORD this morning, after a prolonged battle with cancer. He lived a full life, and touched the lives of thousands of people. He was a graduate of Dakota Bible College. Ministry was his life, and his formal ministry lasted more than fifty years. He ministered to churches in South Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Oklahoma.

He had a unique ability to go into churches that were struggling, and to love them into stability. His last full-time ministry was at the Morningside Church of Christ in Sioux City, Iowa, from which he retired in 1992. He moved to Moberly, Missouri, and immediately found himself thrust back into ministry there, having a prolonged interim ministry at the Union Avenue church. He moved to Joplin in 1994, shortly before we returned from South America. I don't have enough fingers to count the places in the 4-State area where he has done supply preaching, or has had interim ministries. His membership was at the College Heights Christian Church in Joplin, but he was frequently involved in preaching elsewhere.

At the same time, for the past several years, he led a Care Group in his home, ministering to a rather large group of people from College Heights, surrendering the leadership of the group only when his illness demanded it. He shared an evening with that group on Thursday evening, September 26. Early the next morning, while walking in his home, his legs gave out, and he fell. His journey to the next world accelerated after that time.

He has gone now to a much better place. No illness is allowed there. Nor are there days like September 11 marked in memory. There are two special days, that are remembered there. The first day of remembrance was a dark day when the Savior of the World hung suspended between heaven and earth. The forces of evil thought that they had won the cosmic battle. Were it not for the second day of remembrance (3 days later) when Christ arose, all would have been in vain. But on the third day Jesus Christ arose from the dead, to conquer death forever!

In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

"Death swallowed by triumphant Life!

Who got the last word, oh, Death?

Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?"

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!

(1 Corinthians 15, The Message by Eugene Peterson)

He is survived by his wife, Martha; by three children, Melody Voss of Sherman, Illinois; David Fish of Joplin, Missouri; Jacqueline Gage of Lamar, Missouri; by eight grandchildren, and one great grandchild. We will miss him greatly, but we rejoice with him in his graduation from this life to the next, and will look forward to worshipping our LORD with him once again.

David G. Fish (October 7, 2002, 5:31 AM)



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