OBITUARY: John Thomas ‘Buddy’ Fisher, Jr

John Thomas "Buddy" Fisher, Jr

John (Buddy) Thomas Fisher, Jr., age 95, passed away on June 30, 3023. He was the son of Major John (Jack) Thomas Fisher and LeMyra Harlan Fisher of Columbia, TN. Nicknamed the “Energizer Buddy” by his grand-daughters, Buddy led an active, productive and meaningful life. He was devoted to his beloved Carolyn, his faith, Baylor School, Vanderbilt University, Columbia, and his family heritage.

Born in Columbia, TN, he spent most of his grade school and high school years at The Bright School and The Baylor School in Chattanooga, where his father, Jack, was Associate Headmaster, Commandant and Math Teacher. While at Baylor Buddy lettered in six sports and in 1965 was inducted into the Baylor Sports Hall of Fame. As a Senior, he was awarded the Most Outstanding Graduate Scholarship for having the general best all-around ability of any graduate in the history of the school. In 2012 he received the Distinguished Service Award, which was permanently renamed in his honor.

After Baylor, Buddy was recruited by Red Sanders to join the football and basketball teams at Vanderbilt University. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He was an ardent volunteer serving on the Alumni Board, National Reunion Chairman and Chair of the OSHER Lifelong Learning Program for several years. In 2015, he was awarded the Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award for his dedicated, lifelong support of the Commodores.

In 1950 he married his first and only love, Carolyn Reynolds Fisher. They were married for 73 years. Following Vanderbilt, Buddy served in the U.S. Army followed by a successful business career which began at General Shoe Company (Genesco), Redman, Davis and Fisher Insurance, the State of Tennessee and Hilliard, Lyons Investments.

Returning to Columbia, Buddy continued his civic leadership serving as President of the Columbia-Maury County Chamber of Commerce, Deacon and Elder of the First Presbyterian Church, President of the National Association of State Purchasing Officials, among many other leadership positions in his hometown and his church.

Buddy continued his active life for all of his 95 years. Participating in the Senior Olympics, climbing ladders, cutting grass, attending Baylor and Vanderbilt games well into his eighties, he even led cheers at a Baylor football game. His energy was contagious.

Buddy is survived by Carolyn Reynolds Fisher, sons John Thomas Fisher III, (Susie), Jeffrey Reynolds Fisher (Irwin), grand-daughters, Melissa Floyd (Wess), Francie Corcoran (Tom), Carolyn Eisemann (Ben), four great-grandchildren, Gus, Logan and Lilly Floyd and Mary Irwin Corcoran.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, July 6, 2023 at 1:00 P.M. at First Presbyterian Church with Reverend Steve Thomas and Reverend Sarah Kneff officiating. The family will visit with friends Thursday, July 6, 2023 from 11:30 A.M. until service time at the church and again from 2:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. at 814 Academy Lane, Columbia, TN 38401. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangement.

Donations celebrating Buddy’s life may be made to the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, 801 South High Street, Columbia, TN 38401, Baylor School in Chattanooga, 171 Baylor School Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, or the charity of your choice. Condolences may be extended online at

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