Gladstone Lawrence Isaac Fisher was born on Guy Fawkes Day, November 5, 1939, in Mandeville, Manchester. He is the first of two sons of Gladstone Osmond Fisher, who originated from Grange Hill, Westmoreland, and his wife Alice May Heron of Russell Place, Shooter’s Hill, Manchester. His brother is Horace.
He attended Mandeville Elementary School, run by the famous and feared Head Teacher, R.A. Gordon, from whom he received a sound thrashing for insubordination during his second week. Since Gladstone considers the flogging unfair, it was a rather poor welcome to academia.
In the Summer Term of 1951 he entered Munro, and having answered to the nickname Tony from birth, when the form master called the roll no one answered to the name Gladstone Fisher. He then discovered that Gladstone was his name. John Fisher, who had entered Munro ahead of him, politely informed him that he could not also be Fisher – he would have to change his name. How does one do that?
A lonely disconsolate and tearstained Gladstone “Whatever” paced and haunted the school barbecue, but was thankfully soon accompanied by Maxwell Magnus, who he knew before going to Munro, and was also encouraged by T.I. Robinson, his senior in Farquharson house. The accompaniment and encouragement served to eventually make the full-grown Gladstone Fisher of 1957 easily the toughest boy in the school; a school prefect with captaincy and colours in hockey, an impregnable defender with colours in football, and winning high jumper at Western Champs. Dixie Graham was Captain of his Farquharson House athletics team, and in his training regime, for weight control, athletes were not to drink water and were given castor oil two days before performance. Fisher survived.
In 1953 he was captain of the junior hockey team, but he was already playing on the senior team. One day when both the junior and senior teams were playing Manchester – in that order, he played in both games. He captained the Munro hockey team to Henriques Shield Victory in 1958, and again captained the team in Easter term of 1959 before he left Munro. Later that year he played for Jamaica at the hockey Festival in New York. He also represented Jamaica in hockey in 1961 against Trinidad, Barbados, and British Guyana – and against Barbados in 1962.
One day he and John Fisher stopped the maid Bankie as she crossed the barbecue with a tray of goodies for staff and they stole the cookies. They were reported and Headmaster Basil Ward summoned them. John Fisher told Ward that it was Gladstone who did it. Ward said to him “I don’t like sneaks” and gave him six strokes and Gladstone three.
He was indeed not unaccustomed to strokes, having also “ran” the gauntlet in 1955. By this time, the gauntlet was illegal, so one got the strokes standing and not running. He got forty-eight. Mansfield Browne counted them loud and clear. He was not too damaged, for he then passed Senior Cambridge the next year with a distinction in Biology.
When he left Munro in 1959, he plunged into the world of work at English Electric on Hanover Street and after two years went into training for air traffic control along with three young men and one young woman. At the end of three months, they were tested for colour blindness. All four boys failed, and the girl passed, so she went to Canada for the next leg of training.
In 1962 he worked in the Public Works Division’s Architecture Department as a trainee draftsman. In the next year he entered Sir. George Williams University in Montreal, Canada. He did first year engineering and since they didn’t offer architecture, he went East to Acadia University, Nova Scotia 1964 to 1966. He then transferred to Nova Scotia Technical College for the final four years, leading to a Bachelor of Architecture with an award for his thesis in 1970.
He married Sharon Meadows of Nova Scotia in 1970 and the couple produced Michael and Matthew. He worked in Canada at Rutkowski Bradford and Partners until 1972.
He returned to Jamaica and worked with Peter Soares and Associates for a year before striking out on his own at Gladstone L.I. Fisher and Associates with Sharon as Office Manager and that firm operated from 1973 to 1976. He then went back to Canada, worked with Sutherland, Preston Simard for two years, Keith Graham for one, and returned to Jamaica in 1979 to work at National Development Agency, where as executive architect he prepared Government Projects and also sat on the board.
In 1981 he re-established Gladstone L.I. Fisher and Associates and ran it for twenty years. Having been divorced, he re-married in 1991 to Dorienne Rowan Campbell, who has assisted him in the running of the business and in her own right is an organic farmer, producing organic coffee and other products in the Blue Mountains beyond New Castle.
Gladstone Fisher has been involved with major building activities of Munro since 1980. He did the preliminary drawings for the Richard B. Roper Auditorium in 1980 and estimated the cost of the building to be $300,000. (Stop the laughter. Four Jamaican dollars could buy one US dollar at the time.) Building started in 1982 and by 1983 the foundation was laid. After adjusting the height of the building in consultation with old boy John Allgrove at the UDC, he presented in 1986 the estimate for phase 2 i.e., steel frame and roof for $1.5 million. The frame was erected, and the roof put on by October 1989. A hiatus of nearly four years caused new Board Chairman Laurie Sharp to begin building of walls using local labour. Fisher instructed staff member and old boy Michael Elliott how to proceed, and when the four thousand blocks that had survived theft were used up, maintenance officer Washington Mitchell completed the building by May 2000, when it was opened by Sir. Alister McIntyre.
While the auditorium slowly came to life over a twenty-year period, Fisher also did a mapping of the Munro buildings to facilitate the best placement and use of future buildings. This work was done free of cost. He was also involved in the architecture of the 1990’s building programme of fellow inductee, Board Chairman Laurie Sharp
For these and other reasons, Gladstone Isaac Fisher has been inducted into the Munro College Old Boys Association Hall of Fame.