XENIA — Well loved. Kind and gracious. A great man. Beloved.
Those are words being used to describe Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer, who died unexpectedly Tuesday after a medical emergency while attending a sheriff’s convention in Sandusky. Fischer, 65, was taken to Firelands Regional Medical Center where he died shortly after arrival.
His untimely death has stunned the county he served as sheriff since 2003.
“Greene County lost a great man,” said Common Pleas Court Judge Adolfo Tornichio. “He loved his family. He loved his community and he loved his brothers and sisters in law enforcement. He was also a champion for Greene County children and their families. I’m still in shock that we lost him.”
County Administrator Brandon Huddleson called Fischer “an excellent public servant.”
“We are all mourning the loss of our beloved sheriff,” he said. “He will leave a gaping hole in our community. Please keep his family, his staff, and the law enforcement community in your hearts and prayers.”
Fischer, a Fairborn Park Hills High School graduate, spent 20 years as a Xenia police officer before becoming sheriff. Current Xenia Police Chief Randy Person was sworn in as chief around the same time Fischer was sworn in as sheriff.
“For the past 18 years we worked together to improve law enforcement in this city and county,” Person said. “Gene was a pillar of this community and on the professional level I will miss his honesty, his sense of fairness, his willingness to do what’s right even when it is not comfortable, and his willingness to work together to solve problems or issues. Personally I will miss his friendship, his counsel, his willingness to help others, and his dry sense of humor. But mostly I will miss the sense that he is just there and has my back because it seems Gene has always been there.”
Mayor Sarah Mays echoed Person’s thoughts.
“He stood for what is right and fair, he was not afraid to defend the truth,” she said. “He also was kind and gracious, friendly and welcoming to all, including many kids who enjoyed visiting the sheriff’s station. His efforts to do good in the community, and especially in Xenia, will be sorely missed. Gene was an excellent sheriff, an advocate for justice in the community, and a friend to many. Sheriff Fischer was a highly respected man throughout our community. His ties and relationships here run very deep here.”
Gov. Mike DeWine first got to know Fischer when he served as a Xenia police officer. DeWine immediately noticed “how well loved he was by the men and women who worked for him” and added that “he carried that same relationship forward when he was sheriff.”
Fischer then shared that love with the community he proudly served.
“He was doing community policing before it ever had a name,” DeWine said, adding that Fischer understood law enforcement officers had to have a real relationship in the community.
“Fran and I are just absolutely shocked and saddened by his death,” DeWine said.
Much like the governor, Fischer had a passion for young people, especially those in trouble. Working with the courts, Fischer did what he could to support them and get them into proper programs.
“That always impressed me, that he was all about kids,” DeWine said.
Fischer also made sure that no kid left the county fair empty handed.
“He’s going to be a great loss for the 4-H community,” said Fair Board President Dan Bullen. “With everything he did for the kids, ensuring they all had a minimum bid. If a youth didn’t have a buyer, he made sure that the animals got bought.”
But that’s just a little part of what Fischer did during fair week. He was there every day greeting regular patrons and talking to everyone, while ensuring the safety of the entire event.
“It’s going to be hard,” Bullen said. “I’ve been here 30 years. That’s going to be tough where you just don’t see him, him closing the fair every night on the PA. Those traditions are not going to be there. I guess you never think about them because they are there. It’s going to be something that’s sorely missed.”
Arrangements and a celebration of life are still being planned, according to Chief Deputy Scott Anger.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.