World Affairs Council mourns loss of Robert Fischer

The World Affairs Council of St. Louis mourns the loss of Executive Director Emeritus, Robert Fischer and celebrates his many contributions to the St. Louis region and all those he met.

January 3, 1937-April 28, 2019

Robert A Fischer, Emeritus Director of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis (center), displays a proclamation from the Mayor of St. Louis proclaiming March 2, 2018 as “Robert A Fischer Day” in the City of St. Louis. At left is WAC-STL President Pierce Powers, Jr., and at right is Past President Keepak Kant Vyas.

Robert A. Fischer Sr., a native of St. Louis, dedicated himself to improving the world around him, through industry, philanthropic service and the advancement of understanding among people across cultures.

Bob graduated with a degree in Business from Washington University in 1959 and was a lifetime member of the Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity.

For 16 years, Bob served as the Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis, a program operated through the U.S. State Department and supported by many leading St. Louis businesses, which connects citizens of the St. Louis region with leaders from across the globe to promote “citizen diplomacy” as well as improving global understanding. Through his efforts at the World Affairs Council, Bob directed a host of programs designed to benefit high school and college students, teachers and college professors, as well as retirees and those of modest means living across the St. Louis region. A central part of these efforts included hosting events for ambassadors from other nations to the United States of America, among whom he has helped forge positive and lifelong friendships.

“Bob was a man for others,” recalled WAC-STL President Pierce Powers. “He never met a stranger and was passionate in keeping St. Louis connected to the world for the greater good. A true friend who contributed greatly to our council, region and country.”

Under Bob’s leadership, the St. Louis Chapter of the World Affairs Council also awarded the “International Humanitarian of the Year” award, recognizing an individual or institution from the St. Louis region that accomplished extraordinary work to favorably impact a global humanitarian crisis. Throughout his work, Bob consistently kept the focus on advancing the prestige and recognition of others rather than drawing the spotlight to himself. In 2018, Bob was named Emeritus Director of the World Affairs Council of St. Louis and March 2, 2018 was declared “Robert A. Fischer Day” by the Mayor of St. Louis.

“Bob Fischer was a dedicated family man who focused his career on representing some of America’s leading companies in Asia,” said Dr. John Lewington, a member of the WAC-STL board.  “After his corporate career, Bob became a dedicated and caring Executive Director for the World Affairs Council in Saint Louis. Bob was a trailblazer whose guidance and advice will be sorely missed.”

Throughout his career before taking over the St. Louis Chapter of the World Affairs Council, Bob served as a leader in cutting-edge industries both in St. Louis and across the nation. Bob rose to the level of President of McDonnell Douglas Automation Company and, within McDonnell Douglas, also served as chairman, CEO and of a member of the executive board of the Information Systems Group, all based in St. Louis. Bob was the corporate vice president for the South Carolina-based Computer Sciences Corporation, corporate vice president for the Ohio-based Structural Dynamics Research Corporation, president and general manager of the Massachusetts-based Computervision, and senior vice president for Dun & Bradstreet in Wilton, Connecticut. Bob spent more than 18 years in sales and marketing for International Business Machines in St. Louis and elsewhere across America where he consistently earned the company’s “Golden Circle” award for outstanding achievements.

Upon graduation from Washington University, Bob joined the Armed Forces, serving in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1961 as a Captain and Nike Hercules Missile Officer.

Among the organizations he served as a member of the board of directors are:

• The World Affairs Councils of America (Board of Directors)
• The World Affairs Councils of South Carolina (Board of Directors)
• Missouri Baptist Hospital, St. Louis (Board of Directors)
• St. Luke’s Health Corporation, St. Louis (Board of Directors)

Bob enjoyed traveling the world—Paris and Tokyo were among his favorite destinations—as well as fishing and building model railroads.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Ervin R.G. Fischer and Minnie (van Berg) Fischer, and brothers, Ervin George Fischer Jr. and Richard Fischer. He is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Annabelle (Cole) Fischer, their five children—John Douglas Fischer, Robert A. Fischer Jr., Gregg Fischer, Holly A. (Fischer) Kramer, and Nancy (Fischer) Gavett—six grandchildren—Virginia “Ginni” Fischer, Erin (Fischer) Turberville, Robert Kramer, Sarah “Bobbi” Fischer, Michael Bradford and Alina (Kramer) DiRito—as well as two greatgrandchildren.

Services are private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the World Affairs Council of St. Louis.

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