Our friend, Bob Fisler

Robert Fisler, 1910-2009 Robert Fisler, 1910-2009
Robert Fisler Elementary School
The school is located northwest of Sunny Hills H.S., in one of the newer Fullerton/Sunny Hills neighborhoods -- close to where Hughes Aircraft once was.
Orange County Register Memorial Page for Dr. F.

Dr. Fisler was our teacher at Nicolas Junior High School, and our friend. I think probably every good teacher is also the friend of his or her students, too -- not in the social sense, probably, but in the sense of caring profoundly about the young men and women in class. Dr. Fisler cared about us in abundance, and offered that friendship to brilliant and poor students alike, and all of us in between. You'll see on his obituary that he devoted his entire adult life in service to others, and the second half of his life to teaching in Fullerton. According to our friend Dr. Jim Schlotthauer, also formerly of Nicolas, Dr. Fisler reached his retirement age and found ways to remain active in teaching Fullerton children for another 25+ years, as a special teacher and lecturer who'd come around Fullerton elementary schools to talk about science and conduct experiments for the students and teachers.

Now lest I make this good man sound like a Greek god, I have to emphasize he was one of the happiest, most down to earth men I've ever met, too. That must have been because his life had deep purpose, he loved what he was doing, and he loved human beings. He also had a wonderful family he spoke of often. He was funny and .. well, colorful. He leavened his classroom lessons with anecdotes from his life in Burma, Shanghai, Alaska and elsewhere. I can't remember what his larger subject was, but one time he emphatically told us in class, "I'd rather eat off the streets of Shanghai than eat that garbage!" (It may have been fast food.) That was how his passion for language and communication thrilled me and helped give me the idea of becoming a writer when I was 13 years old.

Most of us from Nicolas can still remember exactly where Dr. Fisler's classroom and laboratory were on the campus, almost directly across from the counselors' offices and a few feet farther from the cafeteria.

I'll never forget Dr. Fisler even if I live to be 98 myself. I wish I could tell Rick Vogel (Servite, '66) and other old friends I haven't seen for decades about Dr. Fisler's passing.

We'll present his obituary here, with a memory page, and also a section of photos of Dr. Fisler, to come later.


May 15, 2009
Thursday morning I attended Mr. Fisler's funeral mass, and was very moved by and greatly appreciate the stories told by those in attendance.

I was one of Mr. Fisler’s students at Nicolas Junior High School some 40 years ago.

I remember him entrusting me to play the national anthem at school every morning using a Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorder, to be on the A/V crew as a Bell & Howell 16mm film projectionist, and to use the district’s then-new mobile television production van, back in the days of 2 inch wide black and white Ampex video tape.

It was in Mr. Fisler’s science class that I built my first computer, in a cigar box, with a rotary telephone dial as the input device. (No, it was not part of the curriculum back then.)

He brought out my inner nerd, and helped make me the person I am today. His nurturing provided a solid foundation in science for what became my career and life’s work in technology, including being in charge of administrative computing at USC, building a computerized lighting system for a film by Francis Ford Coppola,, and founding a computer software company that provides command and control systems for 9-1-1 communication centers throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

Mr. Fisler really made a difference in my life, and I am so very thankful for that. I wish that all the students in the world had someone like Mr. Fisler to teach them science in junior high school.
~ Henry Unger, Encino, California | 

May 13, 2009
Mr. Fisler, as I respectfully referred to him in my Junior High days in Fullerton, was one of the most respected teachers in the California educational system. He was truly a blessing from God. He always spoke uplifting and encouraging words. I was challenged and mentored by him into leadership roles that I have undertaken. I utilize his coaching skills and encouragement today to sew into others young and old. He ran the race well...and finished well. The world is a better place because of the good fruit in his life. He will be missed, but fond memories remain - gone, but not forgotten, a gift to the educational system and the people he touched in such a powerful way. He left his mark on me and I am so thankful he did.
~ Ken Slezak, Fullerton, California

May 13, 2009
Along with a select few others, Mr. Fisler was one of those teachers who touched me the most. I was in his science class in 1962 at Nicolas. His experiments were very memorable and impressive. I remember him being very intolerant of those few folks who seemingly didn't want to learn. I chose to learn and we got along fine. One did NOT want to get on his bad side. The man flat knew how to teach. May God bless him.
~ Jeff Nix, San Diego, California | 

May 13, 2009
I do not remember seeing him as "The Principal", but I do remember that he was a teacher, first... and that he was well liked by his students. I am sure that he was very fair with the students; he just seemed like that kind of a man... caring and fair.
~ Julie Okey, Fullerton, California

May 13, 2009
I was one of Dr. Fisler's students in 1962, and I still remember many things he said today. I think he touched the heart of just about all Nicolas students from around 1960 to 1990 or so, and stimulated us to learn and love learning. He was ambidextrous, too, and enjoyed using one hand to write across a blackboard until he needed to resume writing with his other hand! Then he smiled and asked us if anyone noticed anything unusual. I still remember his stories about drinking nothing but boiling hot tea in Asia for years. Dr. Fisler means as much to Fullerton as Hillcrest Park or anyone or anything else. What a man, what a great man.
~ Pa
ul Saevig, Tustin, California