Stephen at home in North Berkeley in 2010. Credit: Susan Fisher

Stephen A. Fisher, MD, Oct. 17, 1936–Sept. 29, 2023

Stephen Augenzucker Fisher, age 86, died unexpectedly at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Richmond on Sept. 29. He had recovered from a serious illness nearly a year before and was regaining strength despite setbacks, a tribute to a lifetime of activity and physical fitness.

Stephen was born in Long Island City, New York, on Oct. 17, 1936, to Lillian Poris Fisher and Alexander A. Fisher, MD, and grew up in the Woodside and Sunnyside areas of Queens. Though he later lived in Berkeley for over 50 years, part of him always remained a New Yorker. He and his wife, Susan, made regular trips there to visit family, friends and sites.

As a preteen, Stephen began a lifelong love of photography. His portraits featured natural smiles and engaging backgrounds. His city and outdoor landscapes included themes such as people or animals in action, textured floors, rain and shadows, reflections, and interest in both foreground and background. Showings of his work included a solo show titled “Images in Juxtaposition” at Photolab Gallery in Berkeley in 2002. His fascination with photography extended to cinematography, and in 1980 his documentary short, Veterans Home, Yountville, appeared on public television.

Postcard for Stephen’s photography show, “Images in Juxtaposition: Recurring compositions in Photographs of Landscapes, Cities, People (1950-2001),” at Photolab Gallery in Berkeley in 2002. Photos: “Train to Kuranda, Queensland, Australia 1997” and “Laguna Beach, California 1965.” Credit: Stephen A. Fisher

Stephen attended Little Red School House in Greenwich Village; Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Riverdale, New York; Oberlin College; New York Medical College; and then went to San Francisco to do a rotating internship at Kaiser Permanente Hospital before choosing the field of psychiatry.

During the time of his psychiatric residency at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley, he met his beloved wife, Susan, at a party at Anchor Steam Brewery in San Francisco. They married eight months later, on June 25, 1965, at San Francisco City Hall, and began what would become 58 years of marriage, together raising two children and enjoying family, friends, travel and conversation — especially about current events.

Shattuck Square, Berkeley, CA, from Study Hall Rooftop Lounge, Oct. 2022. Credit: Stephen A. Fisher

Soon after marrying, Stephen and Susan moved to New York for the last year of his psychiatric residency at Hillside Hospital in Queens, and then to Seattle where he was the Chief Psychiatrist at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital during the Vietnam War. By then a family of four, in June 1969 they moved to the Northbrae area of Berkeley, where he would reside for the remainder of his life.

As a psychiatrist, he worked for hospitals, in private practice, and for clinics, including the Family Service Agency in San Francisco. In the 1970s, he was the Chief Psychiatrist for Napa County Community Mental Health Services. It took the 2020 pandemic to get him to retire from his most recent position, where he worked in the Senior Housing Services program at St. Mary’s Center in Oakland. During his career, he had particular interests in the decriminalization of drug use to support better treatment opportunities, and expanding services to help people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

Stephen is survived by his wife, Susan H. Fisher, DDS; his daughter, Karin Fisher-Golton, and her husband, Joseph Golton; his son, Jacob Fisher; his grandson, Milo Fisher-Golton; his sister, Adria Fisher Price, and her husband, Stephen Price, MD; and more cherished family members and friends. He touched many other lives as well through his genuine interest in and enjoyment of people.

For those moved to do something to honor Stephen, please consider supporting a source of independent journalism, and/or noticing what is happening in the wider world and writing a letter to the editor or a government official about something you care about.

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