St. John Jubilee: Lady of the Year goes to Mildred Fisher

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Donita Fisher of Xi Zeta Eta (right) presents the 2021 Lady of the Year award to Mildred Fisher at the Jubilee celebration last week in St. John.

Xi Zeta Eta, the local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, announced Mildred Fisher as the winner of the 2021 Lady of the Year award for St. John, as presented during the Jubilee celebration last week. The 42-year custom began in 1978.

Fisher, who received a Lady of the Year cameo pendant and a certificate, will have her name engraved on the Lady of the Year plaque which is permanently displayed at the Ida Long Goodman Memorial Library in St. John.

Raised in Stafford County by her parents, Willard and Leva Sanders, Fisher is a life-long resident of the St. John community and a beloved music educator there. As a child, she would reach through the slats of her crib to play with the keys on her mother's piano. Her mother told her that if she was going to do that, she was going to have to learn how to play, which prompted her first piano lessons. When Fisher was six year old, Mrs. Ira George came to her home in the country to give her piano lessons, charging .50 per lesson. In high school Fisher continued to study piano under Melba Cornwell Budge.

While she was stil living at home, Fisher began teaching piano lessons to her neighbor boys, Vernon and Jerry Minnis. In high school she was an accompanist for the school choir and glee club.

After graduating from high school in 1947, Fisher attended Fort Hays State University, earning an emergency teaching certificate. She would attend college classes in the summer and teach in the winter. Fisher taught for three years at Green Valley School, a one-room school house on Eden Valley Road, northwest of St. John.

A local farm boy, Dayle Fisher, came a courting and in 1949, Mildred and Dayle were married and started farm life east of St. John. They were wheat farmers and raised angus beef.

The Fishers also raised two children, Donna Campbell, who passed away in 1981, and Larry Fisher, who built Fisher Service Center in St. John.

Mildred and Dayle Fisher has five grandchildren: Troy Fisher, Andrea Long, Dustin Campbell, Wesley Campbell and Brett Campbell. There are now eight great-grandchildren in the family.

The Fisher family is now in the 5th generation of attending the USD 350 St. John school system.

While a young mother and farm wife, Mildred Fisher was a member of the Town and Country Mother's Club, worked for Bill English at St. John Piano and Organ on the east side of the square, and played the piano for 40-plus years at the First Baptist Church. She has also played for soloists at both school and 4-H contests, many funerals and special occassions in the community.

Mildred and Dayle Fisher bought a home in St. John in 1968 and Mildred decided to offer piano lessons again. She still has a list of the numerous students, both children and adults from the community, whom she has taught.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused her to cease giving piano lessons. Fisher still enjoys spending time learning new music and playing her piano at home.

Xi Zeta Chapter awards her inspiring life of sharing her musical talent with the community.

Mildred Fisher rides through the Jubilee parade in St. John as the 2021 Lady of the Year.