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Dean Fisher, a Downey resident for almost 60 years, passed away peacefully July 18, 2011, surrounded by his family. He lived a wonderful, long life, and he lived it well. Dean was born May 26, 1923 in Denver, Colorado. He grew up in Steamboat Springs where he competed in both alpine and Nordic ski events. At the age of 12, Dean moved with his family to Los Angeles.
Dean, a scholar-athlete, graduated from Bell High School in 1941. He kept in touch with many of his high school friends and was able to enjoy their company year after year at “The Gathering of the Eagles.” He attended the University of Kansas for a short time before joining the U.S. Navy during WWII. He served 4 years as Motor Machinist Mate First Class and Chief Motor Machinist Mate aboard the submarine, U.S.S. Permit (SS 178). After the war, Dean returned to Los Angeles where he met the love of his life, Thelma Ransom. They married in 1952 and moved to Downey where they raised their two children, Gary and Tammy.
Dean was always active in sports, and he coached two generations of kids through DJAA. He spent years motorcycling and snow skiing with his family, and he enjoyed traveling the world with his wife, Thelma. Dean had a 35-year career with Bell Helmets where he served as Senior Vice President. While at Bell, he designed helmets for motorcycling, bicycling, car racing, skiing, and more. One of Dean’s designs, the Bell Star (1981), is part of a permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Dean also helped write worldwide safety standards for the helmet industry, and he established one of the leading product liability defense groups in the motorcycle industry. As one former Daytona champion wrote, “Countless lives have been saved through Dean’s contributions to head protection.” After his retirement, Dean continued to be active in non-profit organizations, which educated youths and funded research for the advancement of head protection.
Dean’s family, friends, and colleagues will miss him dearly. Dean is survived by his wife of 59 years, Thelma Fisher; son, Gary Fisher; daughter Tammy Fisher (Tim) Smick; grandchildren, Jeremy Fisher, Josh (Bee) Fisher, Justin (Misty) Fisher, Chris Smick, Alex Smick, Serra Smick, Rachel Smick; and great-grandchildren Ashton, Olivia, and Lenox.
Dean’s wishes were to be cremated and his ashes taken to sea by the U.S. Navy. A memorial service will be held at The First Baptist Church of Downey, Wednesday, August 24 at 2:00 p.m.
Published: July 28, 2011 – Volume 10 – Issue 15