Monday, June 20, 2022
1200 N 16th St, Clarinda, Iowa
Condolences & Tributes
Dale Bissell Fisk
April 26, 1940 – June 3, 2022
Aged 82, Dale died peacefully in his sleep at Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minnesota. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Alvina Fisk and his younger sister, Darlene Fisk.
He is survived by Lynette (nee Baumgarten), his wife of 48 years; son, Jonathan Fisk and his wife, Meridith; daughter, Laura Roose and her husband, Aaron; grandchildren, Chloe, Anastasia, Trinity, Fides & Alleluia Fisk, and Highland & Lilly Roose; and sister, Beverly Wood.
Dale was born in Williston, North Dakota and grew up in Forsyth and Miles City, Montana. He attended high school and junior college at Concordia in St. Paul, Minnesota where he studied organ with Paul Manz. He graduated from Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois. He spent five summers directing music at Camp Ojibwa, a Jewish boys camp in northern Wisconsin, and earned his Masters Degree in Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Mr. Fisk served on the faculty of Concordia University-Portland from 1963-1990, during which time he served as the Director of Choral Activities, Chair of the Department of Performing and Visual Arts, and taught organ, conducting and courses in liturgy, music theory, and history. The Concordia Choir, the annual Christmas Chorale, choir tours and the Christi Crux Chorale were a huge part of his life in Portland. He and Lynette spent nine months touring for Concordia with the Christi Crux Chorale, singing in Lutheran churches in the 12 western states, and a sabbatical year in Honolulu.
Their children, Jonathan and Laura, were born in Portland and grew up watching their father direct the choir and making memories of the Great Northwest. Visits to the Oregon coast for Moe’s clam chowder, Christmas tree-cutting expeditions, piano lessons, rainy July 4ths in the pink house, fires in the wood stove, Saturday soccer games, German cheese fondue and lentil soup - these sustained the family when they moved to Southern California.
In 1990, Dale accepted a call to be Director of Worship and Music at Christ Lutheran Church, La Mesa, California. He discovered English hand bells going unused in the church balcony closet and a new passion was born, adding bell ringing to his life-long love of organ and choral music.
Dale had a love for musical theater and he participated, along with his family, in many productions as music director or orchestra conductor with Christian Community Theater. He touched the lives of hundreds of performers, many who have gone on to careers performing regionally as well as on Broadway. His constant drive for excellence, an educational heart and high expectations encouraged everyone to reach higher and achieve more.
Mr. Fisk retired in 2006 and moved with his wife, Lynette, to Pleasant Hill, Missouri. They enjoyed traveling together by car, train or ship. (No airplanes for Dale, thank you.) Dale also enjoyed simple pleasures and his childhood comfort foods (creamed peas on toast, pot roast and spam were favorites!). He loved sharing joys with others, sitting around a room with good stories, laughter, and food, and often hosted after-concert parties (Manhattans, anyone?)
Dale’s first love was playing piano and pipe organ, especially service playing with a singing congregation. He had a special talent for worship planning, selecting music and hymns appropriate for the scripture and theme of the liturgical season. His many musical gifts included bringing a group of singers together to grow into a cohesive, well-blended choir proclaiming God’s word through song.
He was the consummate teacher, with a ready smile, spontaneous laugh and boundless patience. Whether in worship or concert, the focus of his music was proclaiming the Word of God to those who listened and his faith in that Word made his home a place of forgiveness.
During his career, he served multiple congregations as organist and choir director in Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, California, Hawaii and Missouri. In retirement Mr. Fisk served several churches in Missouri playing organ, directing choir or hand bells until a copper-deficiency caused spinal damage making it impossible for him to continue playing.
A man of restraint and grace, Dale had a spontaneous, easy laugh and beaming, infectious smile. He loved good wine, ice cream, a well-done steak and homemade pie. Though serious about his art and faith, Dale had a whimsical sense of humor and found joy in simple pleasures. He would often chortle at things that “tickled” him and frequently laugh out loud at the Sunday comics. He could watch the same film 20 times and laugh heartily each time. Delight came easily to him, and so his life and home were filled with it. Slow to anger, he always felt the best way to handle conflict was with a cool and thoughtful mind. It was not unusual for him to go “write a letter” to address a situation.
Passionate about music, he watched, supported, and attended Drum Corps International competitions and reveled in turning his vintage 4-foot tall 1970’s Sunn speakers up to their highest level. Dale listened to a cappella singing groups, and attended orchestras, concerts, Broadway musicals, and the occasional opera.
His love of travel was reinforced touring with his choir and enjoyed in retirement by cruises to Alaska, the Panama Canal, Australia and New Zealand via the South Pacific, and many cross-country road trips with Lynette. He enjoyed planning nearly as much and poured over maps for weeks to ensure the most scenic route, making sure to allow for stops at favorite restaurants or friends who lived along the way.
Dale will be sorely missed by his wife and family who are confident he rests in the arms of Jesus and look forward with certainty to the day when we will be reunited with him in the Life to come. He is worshiping at the throne of God in ways we can only imagine.
Graveside service will take place 11:00 AM Monday, June 20 at Clarinda Cemetery, 1200 N 16th St, Clarinda, Iowa. Memorial services are being planned for Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon. Dates TBD.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Dale’s honor to Concordia University Chicago Church Music Program or a food bank in your local community.