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'Always there when you needed him': Evans Fishel, former Red Lion mayor, dies

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Red Lion lost a longtime public servant and pillar of the community Friday with the death of former Mayor Evans N. Fishel.

Fishel died of complications from injuries he suffered Thursday in a crash on Manor Road in Windsor Township, where his car struck a tree, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

He was 82.

"He was always there when you needed him," said Red Lion Mayor Walt Hughes, who met Fishel in 1991 when Hughes arrived in the borough to serve as police chief, he said.

Hughes and Fishel were in the Lions' Club together, and after Hughes became mayor, he said he could always reach out to Fishel — who had also held that position — if he needed advice or support or wanted his opinion on an issue in the borough.

"The door was always open," Hughes said.

Evans N. Fishel, a longtime public servant and former mayor of Red Lion, died Friday, Jan. 29. He was 82.

Fishel was born and raised in Red Lion and graduated from Red Lion Area High School in 1957 before attending college and entering the insurance industry, according to his obituary.

He joined his father's insurance agency, H.N. Fishel & Associates, Inc., and remained there until 2017, when he sold the company and retired, said his daughter, Dee Fishel.

"He was just fun to be with," Dee Fishel said. "He was a great guy."

Fishel was so involved in the community with volunteering and serving on boards and councils that he wasn't home a lot when his kids were young, Dee Fishel said, but he was there at mealtimes and bedtime. The family understood that he was busy because he was helping other people and the community, she said.

Fishel was a Red Lion Borough Council member from 1972 to 1974 and mayor from 1974 to 1982. He later served on the borough's centennial commission, redevelopment commission and civil service commission, as well as the municipal parking lot committee.

In addition to his time in local government, Fishel was a member of several community boards and organizations, including the Red Lion Fire Department, Red Lion Ambulance Association, Red Lion Historical Society and the Red Lion Youth Center, among many others.

In fact, Fishel's parents, H. Norman and Grace M. Fishel, were founders of the Kaltreider-Benfer Library, Dee Fishel said, and her father later helped raise funds for the library's new building.

District Judge John Fishel is also a nephew of Evans Fishel, she said.

Kaltreider-Benfer Library honored John H. Fishel for his years of service as Board President from 2017-2019. During his years of service, Mr. Fishel's leadership helped pave the way for the library's upcoming expansion and renovation. Pictured from left, are, current Board President Theresa Craley and John Fishel. submitted

Evans Fishel was a member of Grace Lutheran Church, and in years past was involved in several committees and activities there, including the Sunday School program, his daughter said. And he was a longtime member of the Red Lion Lions' Club, serving as president at one point and having perfect attendance for more than 30 years.

Dee Fishel said she'll miss talking to her father most of all, and hearing him tell stories.

He was one of the only people who still called her on the landline at her home, Dee Fishel said, and they spoke every couple of days.

Now every time the house phone rings, she's reminded of him, she said.

Dee Fishel said the community response to her father's death, and the stories people have told about how he impacted their lives, has been amazing.

"He wasn't perfect," she said, "but he was a wonderful, caring man."

A public memorial service will be announced at a later date when there are fewer gathering restrictions due to COVID-19, Dee Fishel said.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Kaltreider-Benfer Library, 147 S. Charles St. in Red Lion, or to the Red Lion Area Ambulance Association, 312 Horace Mann Ave.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the founder of H.N. Fishel & Associates, Inc. It was Evans Fishel's father, H. Norman Fishel.

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