Geraldine Ruby Fisher, 86, of Elkins Park, a retired nurse who loved caring for people, died Sunday, May 2, from complications of diabetes at Brandywine Living at Upper Providence in Phoenixville.
Mrs. Fisher was born in Philadelphia on Aug. 28, 1934, the eldest of three children of Hura Mae Harrington and Jerry Acel Moore. She grew up in South Philadelphia with twin brothers Michael and Acel Moore, who went on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at The Inquirer.
Mrs. Fisher grew up reading the Sue Barton Nurse series of books and had long dreamed of becoming a nurse.
“She had the right temperament for nursing. She was very passionate about caring for people,” her daughter Cathy Williams said. “If you ever got sick, the person to call was my mother.”
After Barratt Junior High School, Mrs. Fisher graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1952. Then she applied to nursing schools at Hahnemann and Pennsylvania Hospitals at a time when hospitals were beginning to integrate their nursing programs.
Officials at Hahnemann rejected her, but Mrs. Fisher became one of the first four Black women accepted at Pennsylvania Hospital’s nursing school, Williams said. She graduated in 1955 with a baccalaureate degree and later became the head nurse for the men’s surgical ward.
In 1956, she married William J. Fisher, a young man she met when both were teenagers attending the First African Baptist Church in South Philadelphia. Their 48-year union lasted until Mr. Fisher died in 2004. They had two daughters.
Mrs. Fisher worked part-time after her daughters were born but later stopped to care for them, Williams said.
She was very active in their lives, as a Sunday school teacher and superintendent at church, and as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader. A member of the Parent Teacher Association, she chaperoned many school trips, and, as a good seamstress, enjoyed sewing dresses and prom gowns for her girls.
After her younger daughter completed sixth grade, Mrs. Fisher returned to nursing at various locations, including the old Women’s Medical Hospital in East Falls. She was also head nurse at Haddington Medical Center in West Philadelphia, Williams said.
Mrs. Fisher and her husband often vacationed with Pat Harding, a dear friend since their junior high days, and her husband, Jon Harding.
The Fishers also enjoyed taking cruises. A favorite trip was to the Mediterranean, where they visited Egypt and Greece.
“It was my father’s dream vacation, and I think my mother enjoyed it just as much, too,” Williams said.
In 1990, Mrs. Fisher left First African Baptist, her family church for decades, and joined Grace Baptist Church in Germantown, where she became a member of the American Baptist Women of Grace and president of the trustees’ aides. She later served as an ordained deacon.
When her younger daughter, Linda Davis, died in 1996, Mrs. Fisher helped care for her only child, James Davis III.
Mrs. Fisher and her husband lived in Mount Airy for 32 years before moving to Elkins Park in 2000, the year Mrs. Fisher retired from nursing after 28 years. In 2019, due to failing health, she went into an assisted living facility in Blue Bell and later moved to the Brandywine care center.
In addition to her daughter and grandson, Mrs. Fisher is survived by a brother, two other grandsons, and many relatives and friends.
A funeral was held Wednesday, May 12.