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Sturgis bids farewell to Fischer

September 17, 2018

STURGIS — Friends, neighbors, colleagues, and people who had never even met Dave Fischer lined the streets of Sturgis Saturday to bid him farewell.

Fischer, 43, a member of the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department, died Sept. 7, during a house fire at Tilford.

The funeral, Saturday afternoon at Sturgis Brown High School, was by some estimates attended by more than 1,500 people, including Gov. Dennis Daugaard and First Lady Linda Daugaard.

As mourners entered the gym, they filed by his flag-draped casket flanked by members of the firefighter honor guard. They had kept watch over their fallen brother all week at Kinkade Funeral Chapel, at the visitation service at the Sturgis Community Center Thursday and then again Saturday during the funeral service.

Leading the service was Chaplain Col. Lynn Wilson, South Dakota Army National Guard state chaplain.

“There wasn’t anyone Dave knew he didn’t love, and there wasn’t anyone who knew Dave that didn’t love him,” Wilson said.

Shawn Barrows, Sturgis fire chief, called Fischer a reluctant leader.

“He knew what needed to be done and how to make it happen,” he said.

Over the years, Fischer worked on many projects in the background at the fire hall that made the lives of those around him a little bit better, Barrows said.

“When the chips were down, Dave was in the front taking charge. He was a talented man with a heart for others,” Barrows said.

Fischer loved his family and was the kind of husband other men strived to be, Barrows said.

He now will take his place in heaven among other Sturgis firefighters who have gone before him, namely Maury LaRue, Brent “Peachy” Lyons, and Tom Monahan, Barrows said.

While gathering Fischer’s belongings at the fire hall, Barrows noticed a note on his helmet box. It was a Bible passage from 1st Thessalonians Chapter 5 verse 8. It read: “But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.”

Barrows said he doesn’t remember a time he saw Fischer without his perfect smile.

“I think it’s because his salvation is assured,” Barrows said, his voice breaking with emotion. “Say hi to ‘Peachy,’ Tom and Maury for us, and we’ll see you again someday.”

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