William “Bill” S. Fish died peacefully at his home on Dec. 2 in Port Washington surrounded by his family. He was eighty-four years old.
Bill was born on Sept. 27, 1934 to Stanley A. Fish and Helen E. Fish. He grew up in Endicott. He was an accomplished musician (clarinetist) at an early age and started college in 1950 at the age of sixteen. He went to The State University of New York College at Potsdam, Crane School of Music to study music education, where he met his first wife Patricia or Pat (deceased) to whom he was married for twenty-eight years. He first came to Port Washington to student teach at Schreiber High School in 1952. After graduation, he came back to Long Island and soon began teaching music in the Port Washington schools in 1954. He also earned his master’s degree from Columbia University while teaching.
Bill taught music in the Port Washington school district for 35 years. He was the Schreiber High School Band Director for more than 25 years. He led the Schreiber band in concert and stage band performances and in marching band. During his time as Director, Bill choreographed the football half time shows, led the high school band in every Port Washington Memorial Day parade, in the Cotton Bowl parade and down Main Street, USA at Disney world. He also directed the Port Washington Community Band for more than 25 years, performing summer concerts at the Sousa Band Shell. He met his second wife Diane while teaching in the summer music program. Diane and Bill had just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in November. He was a gifted teacher, who was beloved by his students and peers. His patient, precise style inspired countless students to pursue music for fun and as a profession.
Bill was an avid and accomplished sailor. Always ready to catch the wind and take off on an adventure, he captained sailboats large and small with family and friends. He loved sailing in Manhasset Bay and cruising in Long Island Sound and throughout New England.
Bill was a true renaissance man with boundless energy. He was an expert in fine woodworking, electronics, construction, sailing, skiing and numerous other activities. No project was too big or farfetched for him to attack with gusto. When he didn’t know how to do something, he learned how to do it expertly and then taught others around him. If he had an idea, he learned what he needed to do to execute the idea.
Bill was an active member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. He supervised and performed numerous projects for the church including selecting the new organ, repairing the roof and renovating the pulpit. He also brought his beautiful baritone voice to the choir every Sunday.
Bill is survived by his loving wife Diane Fish, his sister Susan Fish (Ray Niznik) of Gainesville, FL, his son Bill Fish Jr. (Marcia Vannuccini) of Cromwell, CT, and his daughters Debbie Melia (Tim) of Potomac Falls, VA, Laura Fish (Jim Hall) of Durham, NC, Patti Fish of North Kingstown, RI, and Catherine Fish of East Meadow and nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Bill’s funeral service was held on Dec. 8 at St. Stephen’s Church. Donations to The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (www.liaf.org) or The St. Stephen’s Music Fund (www.ststephenspw.org) in his name would be appreciated.