ForeverMissed
In memory of Matt Fisher, 66 years old, born on July 19, 1954, and passed away on April 10, 2021, after a brief and difficult illness.

There will be no funeral but a memorial service will be organized once the pandemic is over.

In lieu of sending flowers we ask that donations be made in Matt's name to Wounded Warriors or Soldier On.
Posted by Ania Milanowicz on June 2, 2021
Dear Matthew,
I am deeply saddened to hear the news...

Wheels up.
I guess I will truly miss you, St-Mathieu.

My sincere condolences to your Family.

Posted by Anne-Marie P. on May 14, 2021
To the Fisher Family,

I was completely floored when I heard the news about Matt.
I've known him for almost 40 years, ever since the 1981 Summer Universiade that took place in Bucharest, Romania.
He was a great man, very patriotic but also funny, who travelled for work a lot.
Over the years, I had the chance to see Matt every once in a while, when he visited Eastern Europe.
Matt, you are now in God's kingdom with your parents and surrounded by love.
Goodbye dear friend, I will miss you greatly, but I will fondly remember our conversations.
My heart goes out to the family and I offer my deepest condolences.
Posted by Malcolm Rimmer on May 4, 2021
As my brother Doug has mentioned, we met Matt and his brother Tobias (Toby in those days) within days of our getting off the boat from the UK in May, 1967, and have remained friends with them since. Matt was interested in everyone he met and he was able to talk and listen about virtually any subject. My first visit to the Fisher family household a few weeks after I had met the boys was an experience I have never forgotten, and might provide some insight.
We came in through the garage into the family den. Hockey sticks were laying about and there were holes in places in the drywall where pucks has been shot. Newspapers and magazines were everywhere and Toby and Matt began to read from them to each other and to their mother who they called Bar. After a while the biggest man I had ever seen came out from his office in his underwear. This was Big Doug, their father. Matt and Toby peppered him with questions about politics and sports. The four of them debated issues as if they were all adults. I just sat there soaking it all in. Matt would occasionally break out into a play-by-play of an imaginary hockey game, and then would ask me if I had met The Beatles. He would then bellow out a Beatles tune or the Canadian national anthem. We all talked for several hours. My head was spinning as I walked home.
Over the next six years I visited the Fisher home nearly every week and always enjoyed the constant discussions, usually several at a time, as well as the occasional impromptu hockey or football game in the den.
Over the years, I been fortunate to keep in touch with Matthew via email and phone calls. The calls were always the most stimulating discussions I had had in months. I was expected to keep up with Matt's knowledge and wit. I feel very lucky to have called Matthew my friend.
Posted by Kroum Kroumov on May 3, 2021
I have known Matthew for almost 28 years. We met for the first time in June 1993 in the Russian Far East, in Vladivostok, and from there we went together by plane with a Japanese TV station crew to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka peninsular. Further on by a 2-hour helicopter flight we flew to the island of Shumshu, the second northern-most island of the Kuril islands chain. There is a small Russian military post now there, and the remains of an airfield and Japanese tanks from WWII, when the Battle of Shumshu had taken place between the Soviet and Japanese armies in August 1945. That was the only major battle of the Soviet invasion of the Kuril islands. We were allegedly the first non-Russians to set foot on that island and to take pictures and films of it.

Since then, we have been seeing each other in various parts of the world – Thailand, Japan, etc., but mostly in Tokyo where I live (originally from Bulgaria), and where Matthew would arrive about once a year for a few brief but intense days. For me it always felt like a blitzkrieg visit, and for his Japanese friend Junko it seems to have felt like a typhoon, coming quickly and unexpectedly and leaving as quickly. But there was a good reason for that – most often he would come to Japan to have a respite from his busy, exhausting and often life-risking assignments in hot spots elsewhere in the world. After landing in Tokyo sometimes he would sleep for 17 hours on end!

When I first heard about Matthew’s passing away I had an instant goose-skin – I just couldn’t believe that could happen to Matthew – always so full of life and vigour, I felt Matthew is bigger than Life, he was always a survivor – he had survived so many times in places where bombs were exploding right next to him, he had even survived the big Californian earthquake! Even now I still feel that this is just a bad dream!

I had the privilege of assisting Matthew and interpreting for him from Russian and Japanese on a few assignments throughout the world – most notably on the Northern Kurile islands in the Russian Far East, the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake in Japan in 1995, the Nagano winter Olympics in Japan in 1998, the aftermath of the Great East Japan earthquake and the ensuing nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima in 2011. On that last assignment we went until the end of the road – the roadblock set by the police 30 km from the nuclear plant where a meltdown had occurred!

I witnessed his working style first-hand, notepad in hand taking brisk notes with his left hand (to the Japanese he would say that 60% of people in the West write with their right hand, and 40% - with their left hand) and shooting out question after question to the interviewed. He would bow theatrically like a Japanese to anyone and everyone – the shop assistant girl in the coffee shop, to the person he was interviewing, inviting spontaneous smiles and opening many doors (few frowns on some occasions too). But behind the comical façade he was a shrewd journalist who observed with a sharp eye and made deep conclusions. And later typing the article’s draft on his laptop, lying in bed in the hotel room, laptop on his belly, I can visualise him even now!

In my relationship with him through all these years we have had great fun together, sharing numerous sushi dinners and coffee drinks (he avoided tea and coffee and drank mostly cocoa, never alcohol, because it would interfere with his need to sleep whenever and wherever he should need it) – I cherish lovely memories of all these moments together! He was truly one of a kind with a strong character! I will always miss him!
Today, May 2, 2021 is Easter by the eastern Orthodox calendar, the resurrection of Jesus Christ! In our local Russian Orthodox church in Tokyo there was a service in Russisan, Bulgarian, English and Japanese. I lit up a candle in memory of Matthew. He will always live in my memory!
My sincere condolences to his family!

With love and affection,
Matthew‘s Bulgarian pal in Tokyo, Kroum

PS - After posting this tribute I watched the film "Mr. Jones". The film tells the story of Gareth Jones, a journalist from Wales, who in 1933 travelled to the Soviet Union, uncovered and told the world the truth about the Holodomor, the devastating famine in Ukraine in which millions died. I would like to commemorate the film to Mathhew, who like Gareth Jones, is a fine example of a dedicated and talented journalist!
Posted by Doug Rimmer on April 30, 2021
My brother and I met and made friends with Matt and his family when we moved to Canada in 1967. Matt remained our friend for the next 50+ years. Sure, he moved in and out of our lives as he travelled and lived around the world. But when you were with him, it was a total connection. He remembered the details of our lives - and usually put them to good use making sport of us. And he shared his own adventures, analysis and opinions from all that he had seen and done. Time with Matt was always a challenging and entertaining experience - full of laughter, outrage, and ideas. I will miss those times very much.
Posted by Andrei Andreyev on April 28, 2021
Matthew and I were friends for over 30 years. I travelled with him in Russia and to some hot spots of the former Soviet Union in the early 90s (Small world, we were on the same flight to Nagorno Karabakh with Robert Hurst in 1993, the trip he has mentioned below!) until my wife Maureen and I have moved to the Washington, DC area. Matt has visited us here on multiple occasions.

One of the most memorable moments was when we all had dinner in our house on the evening of September 10, 2001. He was talking about the threat of smuggling of military grade nuclear materials and how worried he was that early one day he would get the news of some huge terrorist attack on New York... He called me the very next morning absolutely shocked with unfolding events: "Andron, I honestly did not mean it to happen so soon!" In the next hour he was reporting from the Pentagon plane crash site.... I am still amazed how frequently his predictions were right on the spot and I am glad my son had a chance to meet Matt a couple of times and listen to his stories. I have no doubt they contributed to my son’s decision to major in foreign policy.

Last time Matt called me early in February and told me he was in bad shape. He did not elaborate, but mentioned that there were still options opened and left me hoping for the best.

Maureen and I loved his sense of sobering humor that frequently bridged opposing political views. We'll miss him terribly!

Our hearts go to everyone who loved him.

Falls Church, Virgina

PS. When leaving he always used to say: "Bye, Mr. Second Best! Do you know, why you are the second best? Because I am the Best!" Goodbye our Mr. Best!
Posted by Mark Fisher on April 26, 2021
Matthew:
Was hugely curious about everything and everyone;
Could make lifelong friends in just minutes, had hundreds of such friends, and kept in touch with them for literally decades;
Was highly competitive, and ambitious to be the best as a reporter, foreign correspondent and commentator;
Loved Canada, every bit of it, with all his heart;
Loved his Canadian heritage, especially his roots in northern and northwestern Ontario – Port Arthur and Sioux Lookout;
Loved that his paternal grandfather was a CNR locomotive engineer;
Loved trains and long rail trips, wherever in the world he could find them;
Was fascinated by Port Arthur’s bus routes as a kid, as well as Toronto’s old time Red Rocket street cars;
Loved his family deeply and generously, his mother Barbara above all;
Loved kids enormously and got along famously with them because at heart he himself remained a kid and could see the world through their eyes;
Loved travelling, whether working or otherwise, and arranging for his mother, brothers, nieces, nephews to travel with him or meet up in some far off place;
Loved and knew a phenomenal amount about sport in most of its forms, and was tight with the Crazy Canucks of ski fame – Ken Read, Steve Podborski, Dave Irwin etc.;
Loved hockey – playing when younger, watching when older;
Loved the Leafs as a boy, the Habs later on, then finally the Ottawa Senators;
Loved the Canadian military – army, navy, air force – from the lowest ranks up to some of the top brass, and earned their friendship, trust and admiration;
Loved being embedded with a US Marine unit of the 3rd LAR “Wolf Pack” Battalion which fought in the first major and only battalion level battle of Operation Iraqi Freedom, March 2003;
Was fascinated by birds and wildlife, especially after he moved into his Kanata house and could watch birds at his feeder, or coyotes and other critters in his back yard; 
Boastfully styled himself variously from a young age as Royale Mathieu, the Living Legend, Field Marshall the Right Honourable Sir Roy Matthew Fisher and so on – and always got a laugh;
Announced his returns from abroad by letting his family know that “the Ego has landed”;
Didn’t care if his views and personality grated on some people;
Could not abide “woke” people and attitudes;
Was both conservative and Conservative and definitely not “politically correct”;
Had great respect for only a few reporters, e.g. Christie Blatchford, and despaired of most others and of most journalism;
Lived for decades in his own style of perpetual chaos but somehow made it work;
Excelled at gaming the airline system to his own advantage by knowing more than airline staff;
Always had plans for tomorrow, the day after, and the coming week and months, even as he was dying;
And now … it’s over. A remarkable man – son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend – is gone.
Posted by Elzbieta Dowling on April 25, 2021

Matthew, you will be missed so much.......xx
Posted by Cesar Rodriguez on April 20, 2021
I was saddened to learn of Matt's passing. I first met Matt when he was assigned as the embedded reporter with our U. S. Marine company for the invasion of Iraq. Not a better reporter to have had with us. Matt and I would eventually become good friends bounded by the rigors of combat. The Marines and Sailors of Blackfoot Company will miss you. Our prayers are with the family. I will miss Matt's wonderful personality and his kindness. Semper Fidelis and rest easy my friend until we meet again.

Sincerely,

Col Cesar Rodriguez, USMC

Posted by Joan Smith on April 19, 2021
To the Fisher Family,

Neighbours for the fifty years the five Fisher boys were always active on their driveway. It became the centre of neighbourly chats for years between my late husband Stewart, Matthew's late mom Barbara, and Douglas Fisher.

Matthew would arrive home from his journalism assignment always willing to share his experience with Stewart who was always available to listen and give his opinion.

Matthew was caring and loved people. After Stewart passed away he took me to lunch where he used to take his mother Barbara to make sure I was doing okay.

Matthew will be missed by us.
Joan & family
Posted by Fred Weir on April 18, 2021
A good deal of Matt's time, and clear interests, were devoted to Russia. I know his professional life spanned the world, but my own long friendship with him began here, in Moscow where I've lived for about 35 years, in the late 1980's, and was mostly centered around the very long and intense amount of time he spent here; he made Moscow his base for much of the 1990s. We often traveled together around Russia and Ukraine. Sort of competitors at times, but always friends and good companions. Matt was a relentless journalist, always chatting people up -- he had no interest in think tank analysts, it was folks he met at McDonald's or in the metro that he engaged with -- he was astoundingly gregarious and always able to make a connection. He spoke French and German fluently. His Russian was fairly limited, but that did not seem to slow him down at all. My Russian might have been better, but I never had anything close to his communication skills. I envied him that, also his locomotive-like energy, ability to keep going with almost no sleep, and an almost magical facility with logistics. Some of my fondest memories involve road trips with Matt, and the many, many associated adventures. He stopped coming to Russia about 5 years ago, and in recent years we also disagreed a lot about geopolitical issues -- an ongoing discussion that played out mostly on my Facebook page. But in earlier years he would come to stay with us in our dacha outside Moscow quite frequently. My family adored him, and we've all been exchanging bittersweet reminiscences since the news of his passing landed. I last saw him in Ottawa, in the autumn of 2019, when he was just about to settle down for the first time in his life in a beautiful new home he'd acquired in Kanata. It would have been a perfect base from which to launch the political career he was apparently contemplating. So sorry, he would have been awfully good at it. My son, Charlie, who was studying at Algonquin College in Ottawa, tells me that when he was trying desperately to get home to Russia last May, but couldn't renew his Canadian passport because all the offices were closed due to the pandemic, it was Matt who figured out how to do it, accompanied Charlie down to the one place that was open for emergency passports, and vouched for him. Thanks, Matthew. Going to miss you terribly.
Posted by Ken Ernhofer on April 18, 2021
Gracey and I are deeply saddened to hear of Matthew's passing. He was a fabulous and generous friend, entertaining and thoughtful, considerate and appreciative, and fun! We recall our great times together in Moscow, in Thailand and Laos, and when he visited us in Atlanta. He was an old-school foreign and war correspondent who reminds me of Hemingway and Gellhorn. His news reports were gripping and authoritative. He had strong opinions, but was eager always to discuss everything. He was fascinated with the world, and he forever fascinated us. Our sympathies to his family, particularly his brothers, and his legions of friends. Matthew was irreplaceable. We miss him.
Posted by Susan Henderson on April 17, 2021
I was very sorry to hear of Matthew's passing. I knew him from high school, when he was voted in as head boy. I had sent him a congratulatory note and he sent it back to me grammatically corrected. He was a character and a stickler for good writing. He will be missed.
Posted by James Egan on April 16, 2021
I was shocked and very saddened by the unexpected passing of Matt Fisher. What a character, what a spirit and what a story teller! He was someone I was in infrequent contact with for some 30 years. I first met Matt in the lobby of the Sun Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, when we we both there on business in the late Eighties. He was behind me in the check-in line, and noted somehow that I was Canadian (well, he was first and always a reporter). We started talking, as all-by-themselves travelling business people do, and discovered we had some common acquaintances (of course, he know almost everybody!). We ended up having dinner, and I heard the first of is never-ending tales of his life on the road, with destinations ranging from Russia, Bangkok, and frequent stints with the Canadian military (whom he loved and deeply respected). Over the next decades, I would hear from him from time to time, either a note from some far-flung location, or when he said he was coming to Toronto or, more recently to London, where I lived and worked for several years. We would get together when we could for dinner (I think I always paid, but his stories were worth it!). We even had him over for dinner at our house a time or two, and I would always encourage my sons to listen to him and his tales, and they found him fascinating. He told me once, when I was going on about his exciting life (Russian ballerinas, review of Warsaw Pact armed encampments, flying in fighter jets--I never threw up, he proudly claimed--or with the Canadian troops in some war zone getting shelled) and said how wild and exciting it was, that I shouldn't envy those experiences too much, that what he really wanted was something I had, a loving and stable home and a family of his own. He certainly loved and admired his family, and spoke of his brothers and father in particular, but I think he was searching for a way to return and be in Canada for the next phases of his life. I last spoke to him, out of the blue as always, a few months ago (how did he find me?), and he was speaking of new opportunities in the Ottawa area. That would have been another great story! I will miss you Matt! God bless, and all the best to the family he loved.  
Posted by Ken Read on April 15, 2021
Always a journalist first. Raconteur, irascible, funny, honest, determined, dedicated and a friend. Matthew earned our trust and we reciprocated in-kind by always going to him first in the finish areas. Much to the chagrin of many a sports editor who could not understand ... but when an individual is there, every event, for years and knows who,when, what, where and why - as Matt did around the World Cup ski circuit, it was our way of paying respect to a kind, generous and committed professional who showed every Canadian amateur sport athlete, respect. From 1975 until our Team disbanded in 1984, he was there. And we had the additional fun of writing "White Circus: A skiing life" which became a Canadian sport bestseller, subsequently commissioned into a CTV movie. I have not heard that much from Matthew in recent years, but followed his byline from distant shores. And every now and then, when least expected, an email, text or tweet would drift in on an anniversary or notable event. Canadian sport owes a tremendous debit to Matthew, as he set the bar high along with Andy Shaw and those who followed carried on a tradition of excellence: Randy Starkman, Mary Hynes, Erik Duhatschek, Steve Keating, and many more. Rest easy Matthew. You made this world a better place.
Posted by Jocelyne Daw on April 15, 2021
Dear Fisher Boys and Family,

It was with such sadness that I read about Matthew's passing - what a force of nature he was - so smart, funny, fearless, friendly and warm. I remember him in elementary school and high school and he actually came and stayed with me in residence (slept on my floor) when he was considering attending Trent University. He decided as you know on York but didn't last too long - he had too many others things to do! I bumped into him in Montreal back in 1992 - such a happy memory of a very lively and engaging discussion - just like I always remembered him. I loved reading or hearing his correspondence - always thoughtful and insightful. I also wanted to let you know my own mom passed away this past October (2020) at the age of 94. I know she had so many happy memories of your parents, Barb and Doug - as they were at Queen's together and she always had a soft spot for Matthew. Warmest wishes in your time of grief.  Sending love and sincere condolences on this sad loss for the family and of course our country and the journalism world!  Jocelyne Daw
Posted by Wendel Fisher on April 15, 2021
Roger Charles Jackson, Canadian academic and Olympic gold medallist rower, said this:

I always find it very sad when someone that I know/knew passes away. I might have helped Matt a wee bit when as Director of Sport Canada I agreed to finance he and Andy Shaw and a couple of others to be freelancers reporting on Canadian athletes competing in Europe. Bill Hirsch coordinated their activities. All this was at a time when Doug was so helpful to me and Sport Canada developing the Coaching Association, Hockey Canada and other projects, and implementing the Task Force Report on Sport that he and Sid Wise wrote. 

What a full life Mathew had. Really an exceptional genuine adventurer. I really appreciated his writing and reporting and following his travels.
Posted by Charles Fraser on April 15, 2021
While I did not know Matthew except from his amazing journalism career, I was a friend and classmate of John. Thoughts, prayers and condolences are with you and your family.
Posted by Bruce Muirhead on April 15, 2021
I first met Matt in 1968 and even then, at the age of 14, it was clear he was one to watch. He was bigger than life in every way! I traveled with him a few times on extended trips, (not to any war zone!), and even though our paths diverged over the years, we reunited every one or two. He was the best man at my wedding, a memory I treasure.

I cannot believe he is gone from this world. It is unfair in the most horrible way. He was on the verge of beginning a new career when it was all taken away. I will also miss his journalism and his way of looking at the world. He was one of a kind.
Posted by David Lesley on April 14, 2021
I first met Matt in Kanata, and while he was two years younger than me I had a feeling he was going to go somewhere in life, and indeed he did and to more countries than I could ever imagine. Over the years I followed his work and I learned a lot. My thoughts go out to the family. RIP
Posted by Ana Maia on April 14, 2021
John,

On behalf of all of us at work and me personally, thinking of you and your family during this time. Thank you for being so generous in sharing your family stories with us. Many of us know about your brother from far away and the work that he did but also, most importantly, from you. No doubt he will be missed and hope you and your family find comfort in the many stories, memories and laughs that you shared. Take care, Ana and the team!
Posted by Robert Hurst on April 14, 2021
I first met Matt in 1980 at the World Cup Downhill in Lake Louise. None of the Crazy Canuck skiers would interview until Matt had first crack.
I next ran into Matt in 1983 in Taipei Taiwan. He had just ordered some made-to-measure shirts for his Dad. Matt took me out on the town that night.
In 1993 we travelled together to the war zone in Ngorno Karabach in the Caucuses Mountains.
Matt would drop by my Moscow office regularly. We would talk for hours. I miss that.
Robert Hurst
Posted by Sheila Robertson on April 14, 2021
I first saw Matthew from my classroom at Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, as my history teacher, Douglas Fisher, often pointed out the little Fisher boys playing across the street. From the time he was 20 or so - when we were colleagues on Canada's communications team at the Montreal Olympic Games - until now, we stayed friends, even when quarrelling about just about everything. My husband, Bruce, and I have fond memories of him bringing Doug and Barbara for visits to our Manotick home, where they enjoyed a cup of tea and the lovely views of the Rideau River. He always stayed in touch and I have saved every email he sent me. We are saddened beyond words by his untimely passing. Without Matthew, the world will never be the same.
Posted by Wendel Fisher on April 14, 2021
Alan Hobkirk, Rhodes Scholar and former Captain of the Canadian field hockey team, said this:

I have fond memories of Matt joining us on several tour stops. He was a real tonic. His good humour and treasury of fascinating stories from his journalistic travels made him eminently companionable. I thoroughly enjoyed our “debates” over some of the issues of the day.
Posted by Ian Brodie on April 13, 2021
Matthew Fisher was a fantastic correspondent, and a friendly, warm, fun creature of the world. 
Posted by Wendel Fisher on April 13, 2021
Dave Bissett, Canadian field hockey player, said this:

When I was in Rio in 2016 to watch my nephew play field hockey, Matt came out to the one of the games. He was doing some sort of story on hockey and he picked my brain a bit, and we caught up. He had a couple of tickets to track when Usaine Bolt was running in the 100m final and asked me to go with him. Of course, I said yes, and we agreed to go for dinner beforehand. Matt wanted to go to a Brazilian steak house he had heard about, so we went there. It was very busy when we got there, and we didn't have a reservation. Well, that didn't faze Matt at all, and he talked and charmed our way in without much of a wait at all. We had a great meal and then headed to the track. Usaine won the gold (his third gold medal in the 100m) beating Canadian Andre De Grasse. It was a night I will never forget.

Matt was a bigger than life character. He was full of life, was lots of fun and always had a story to tell. I told him he should write a book about his experiences.

He lived life to the fullest and will be missed.
Posted by Kamla Fisher on April 13, 2021
I was seventeen when I met Matthew, soon after I started dating his youngest brother, Luke. Matt had heard all about me when he took Luke to cover the Crazy Canucks race season in Europe – Todd Brooker won the Hahnenkamm in Kitzbühel, Austria that year, an unforgettable moment in Canadian sport. Luke called me before and after each race, and sent me postcards from every new town they visited, meeting Matt’s many friends along the way, and recounting unforgettable stories like smuggling toothpaste in to Poland during martial law, ordering bifteck /getting raw hamburger on a communist train, driving through the Alps taking hairpin turns at speed to make the next venue – it was a wonderful experience for Luke. Matt and I hit it off from that first meeting; he was so much like Luke, they both liked me to walk on their back, both liked hockey, same sense of humour. Later when Luke and I married, Matt used points to fly us first class on one of the last Air Canada flights in to London, Mumbai, Singapore. It was the first time I tasted caviar, saw Big Ben and visited Goa, where I was born but never lived. Matt had already visited Goa in previous years and had met my cousins before I did. (The relatives still talk about Matt – what a great Canadian he was.) In later years, he sent our teenaged family off to Hawaii where the water was warmer than the air, to the Air Canada Centre for All Star games, to every Leafs Sens game at the height of their rivalry, renting rink time for birthdays, and most recently, greeting our grandchildren with glee – more kids to take to train stations, beaver ponds and the like. In his lifelong quest to leave no stone unturned, Matt has given us so many unforgettable moments – like scattered seeds, those precious memories bloom forever...
Posted by Kamla Fisher on April 13, 2021
E. KAYE FULTON said this:

"I've never known anyone quite like him ... or any family quite like the remarkable Fisher family. Matt was a man of perpetual motion, a quixotic journalist with wanderlust and an unerring, often dizzying, instinct for news. So well prepared (except for his wardrobe) that he not only knew where news was happening anywhere in the world at any given moment but also, uncannily, where news was about to happen. A true-blue soloist, the planet was literally his newsroom and his home. If I missed him when he dropped by in a whirlwind to say hi and goodbye, he'd leave a note on my desk signed 'Matthew, No Fixed Address.' ("Don't let this house or anybody 'fix you' to one place. You too are a bounder, at heart if not in practice," he wrote in a note he tacked to the door of my newly bought home in Ottawa.) If you have a moment, please read this National Post obit. Even if you'd never met him - and there are dozens of his editors and colleagues who never laid eyes on him - it gives you a taste of his life and exploits. Matt is of a bygone era. I prefer to think of him not gone forever, but simply on another assignment in some unknown, far-flung place. Where the news is, and will be. x"
Posted by Wendel Fisher on April 13, 2021
Michael Hedges, who reported for the Washington Times, Scripps News Service and Hearst newspapers from some of the same places as Matthew, said this:

I had the pleasure of working with Matthew in Kuwait, Kosovo, Haiti and Afghanistan. He was an authentic example of what many of us wanted to be – a thoughtful, informed, fair and committed chronicler of important events. He helped make what was happening in the dozen or so war zones from which he reported both lucid and vivid, and in doing so served an important and honorable function to his readers in Canada and beyond.
Posted by Emma F. on April 12, 2021
My uncle Matthew always made the time for family. No matter where I was in the world he would make spending time with me a priority. He visited me on two separate occasions when I was on vacation in the Philippines, in Japan and countless times at home in Vancouver not to mention the gift of flights so that I could come to Ottawa every summer and Christmas to be with the rest of the family. He brought all of his nieces and nephews to hockey games, movies, and liked to take us on the scenic routes when driving (with a mandatory stop for roadside corn in the summers). You could feel he wanted to spend time with you and get to know you. He always wanted the biggest rental vehicle he could get and would drive it badly but proudly. He had a way of charming just about everyone and had a magical ability to keep everyone connected.

He was the star and glue of our family, always generous with his time. He was a lifelong bachelor who always spoiled us cousins but also ragged on us. He had perfected the art of obnoxious but completely lovable uncle. I wish I could properly explain how much he means to me, how much a part of my life he has been and all the small ways and big ways I will miss him.
Once at a fancy sushi restaurant in Vancouver, Matt told me our goal was to order more than $400 worth of sushi between the two of us, a huge smirk on his face. He enjoyed having me as his wing woman for flirting with waitresses, having a great opener to talk about his “lovely niece”. If he had something he always wanted to share with others, whether it was food, flights, stories, tickets to hockey games - you could always count on Matt.
Too many fun childhood memories to recount. Remember when the cousins all put minnows in his underwear one summer? Or tried to booby trap him in our grandmother, Barbara’s basement with a tire? He would ask us kids if we knew why he couldn’t wait until tomorrow, giving the same answer and grin every time - “because I get better looking everyday”. If I think about how I’ll remember him best it’s him humming loudly from the upstairs bathroom at Barbara’s, having just showered, the bathroom a swamp and him scurrying back to his room only partially covered by his towel. Remember that purring noise he could make while working on his laptop? Remember being called beaver-diculous as he pretended to escape when we all piled on top of him begging him to carry us? Remember the hockey plays he’d yell out across Barbara’s house while clapping his hands to mimic the sound of puck on hockey stick? It always went the same way, “Fisher over to Potvin, Potvin over to Fisher, he shoots, FISHER SCORES!!” I was so proud to be able to meet Denis Potvin in February 2020 and tell him of my uncle’s great admiration and get a signature for Matthew, which he kept on his mantle. We have home video of Matthew playing with us when my sister and I were about 1.5 and 3 years old. Patiently and enthusiastically helping us up our slide and guiding us down, always cheering and yelling, “Wheeee!!” He really was so good to all of us.
In our family he created his famous sign off, born as soon as he became an uncle - Your favourite Uncle, Matthew. He wrote this in every card, letter, and email. It was so engrained that it just became true, and not because our other uncles aren’t wonderful, but because Matthew was the only one with an ego big enough to push hard our whole lives for the title. So, I hope that wherever he may be, my favourite uncle, Matthew is at peace.
Posted by Wendel Fisher on April 11, 2021
To the world, Matthew Fisher was the well-travelled war correspondent and veteran journalist. To me, he was Uncle Matt, the man who could simultaneously drive me nuts and make my day.

When I was a little kid, Matt was the coolest guy I had ever seen. He was always humming weird tunes he had come up with at the top of his lungs while he paced around his bedroom in his underwear. He had a really cool beard when none of the other adults really did. He’d break out into play-by-play for an imaginary hockey game as we were walking down the street. He’d tell you crazy stories from his childhood, or the place he’d just come home from. All my friends’ parents knew who he was. My teachers knew who he was. I’d get questions about where he was going next, or how interesting it was to talk to him at home. It was like I knew a celebrity. He would be in a warzone for months and I’d be worried about his safety, but in the back of my head I always felt like he would be fine, because this was what he did and he was the best at it.

Once I grew up a little of that shine came off. Matt didn’t always know what he was doing. Matt was a problem solver. If he needed to get somewhere, he’d figure it out. If he needed to contact someone, he knew a guy who knew a guy. I’d often marvel at his ability to do his job so well with the infant-like understanding of computers and technology that he had. Sometimes being a problem solver meant getting other people to solve his problems. I once asked him how he could report from all these remote and dangerous places, filing stories in all conditions, but not know how to copy and paste text on his computer. He said, “I don’t need to learn that stuff, I have you.”

For years he would phone or email me at all hours of the day and night, asking that I scan a passport he forgot at home, send a message to someone important on his behalf, fill out a job application for him, submit a story to his editor, or, most frequently, once again teach him how to download movies to his computer on the other side of the world. Sometimes I would wake up and look at my ringing phone, thinking, “What now?!”. It kills me that that will never happen again.

To me, the most unique thing about Matt was how interested he was in people. It didn’t matter who it was, he was innately curious about other peoples’ experiences. We could be at a restaurant and he’d start talking to the server about what country they were from, or what languages they could speak. We’d be watching a hockey game and he’d start talking about the ancestral background of some unimportant fourth line player. When I started dating my wife and he found out about her, he would pepper me with questions every time we talked. What’s she going to school for? Where are her parents’ families from? Did her grandparents fight in the war? What courses does she take in school? I’d have to have a report ready for the next time he called.

He also loved sharing his passions. I have been to hundreds of Senators games in my life, and more than half of them were on Matt’s dime. When the 2009 World Juniors were in Ottawa, he bought tickets to every single game and distributed them amongst the family. He is the only member of my family who cheered for the Senators along with me, and I think he is largely responsible for my love of playing and watching hockey.

Whether it was hockey tickets or flights around the world, Matt funded and organized a lot of the best memories my sister, my cousins and I had during our childhood. And he did it because he wanted to enjoy time with his family. Family was so important to him. While I was writing this, two of my kids came in and asked me to read them what I’d written. It’s a tragedy that they will grow up having only just met Matt when they were so small. He loved them so much. He loved us all so much.

He took orders from no one, asked questions whenever he felt like it, and took advice from others only when it suited him. He was the glue that holds our family together. He was always in contact, whether you liked it or not.

He was a force of nature, and the world feels less interesting without him in it. That said, I don’t think he would agree – though he’d love the compliment.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Ania Milanowicz on June 2, 2021
Dear Matthew,
I am deeply saddened to hear the news...

Wheels up.
I guess I will truly miss you, St-Mathieu.

My sincere condolences to your Family.

Posted by Anne-Marie P. on May 14, 2021
To the Fisher Family,

I was completely floored when I heard the news about Matt.
I've known him for almost 40 years, ever since the 1981 Summer Universiade that took place in Bucharest, Romania.
He was a great man, very patriotic but also funny, who travelled for work a lot.
Over the years, I had the chance to see Matt every once in a while, when he visited Eastern Europe.
Matt, you are now in God's kingdom with your parents and surrounded by love.
Goodbye dear friend, I will miss you greatly, but I will fondly remember our conversations.
My heart goes out to the family and I offer my deepest condolences.
Posted by Malcolm Rimmer on May 4, 2021
As my brother Doug has mentioned, we met Matt and his brother Tobias (Toby in those days) within days of our getting off the boat from the UK in May, 1967, and have remained friends with them since. Matt was interested in everyone he met and he was able to talk and listen about virtually any subject. My first visit to the Fisher family household a few weeks after I had met the boys was an experience I have never forgotten, and might provide some insight.
We came in through the garage into the family den. Hockey sticks were laying about and there were holes in places in the drywall where pucks has been shot. Newspapers and magazines were everywhere and Toby and Matt began to read from them to each other and to their mother who they called Bar. After a while the biggest man I had ever seen came out from his office in his underwear. This was Big Doug, their father. Matt and Toby peppered him with questions about politics and sports. The four of them debated issues as if they were all adults. I just sat there soaking it all in. Matt would occasionally break out into a play-by-play of an imaginary hockey game, and then would ask me if I had met The Beatles. He would then bellow out a Beatles tune or the Canadian national anthem. We all talked for several hours. My head was spinning as I walked home.
Over the next six years I visited the Fisher home nearly every week and always enjoyed the constant discussions, usually several at a time, as well as the occasional impromptu hockey or football game in the den.
Over the years, I been fortunate to keep in touch with Matthew via email and phone calls. The calls were always the most stimulating discussions I had had in months. I was expected to keep up with Matt's knowledge and wit. I feel very lucky to have called Matthew my friend.
his Life

Roy Matthew Fisher

Pre-deceased by his parents, Douglas Mason Fisher and Barbara Lamont Fisher. Beloved brother of Mark, Tobias (Mireille), John (Huguette) and Luke (Kamla). “Favourite uncle” to Wendel (Erica), Irene (Jesse), Alexandre, Emma (Bill), Sam and Ruth. And great uncle to Felix, Leo, Conan and Charlie.

Matt Fisher was one of a kind. Bold, brave, boastful and charming, he was an unforgettable character. As a journalist for 45 years, he reported from the most dangerous datelines in the world – Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Rwanda, Somalia, the Balkans and more – bringing the tragedy of war home to Canadians. A true war correspondent, he “ran to the sound of the guns” and told the story from the front lines. He would want you to know that he visited 174 countries and covered more than 20 wars and civil conflicts during his journalism career. He also would want you to know he learned to speak Quebecois French, Bavarian German, and a substantial smattering of Russian, Arabic, and a dozen other languages – enough to make a connection and disarm people with a joke.

Matt was born in Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), one of five sons of two WWII veterans. His parents, Barbara and Douglas, were both librarians and teachers, imparting a love of knowledge and an interest in the wider world to all their sons. His father, a former CCF/NDP MP and Chairman of Hockey Canada, went on to become the dean of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Matt started early in journalism. At 16, he won the Montreal Expos ‘Junior Broadcaster’ contest. The prize was a trip to Hawaii, which he promptly sold to buy new hockey equipment. He parlayed that first success into a job as a high school sports reporter for CBO Radio in Ottawa, and then joined Max Keeping’s newsroom at CJOH-TV. At 19, he “stumbled” into his first war in Mozambique and ironically, could not sell the story to a single Canadian news outlet. He then spent eight years travelling the world reporting on Canada’s amateur athletes, notably the sensational successes of the ‘Crazy Canucks’, the downhill skiers, about whom he wrote a book, ‘White Circus’, with Ken Read. In total, he would report from a dozen Olympic Games.

He also covered firsthand many of the major events of our time, including the election of Nelson Mandela, the death of Princess Diana, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Hong Kong handover to China. But it was war that intrigued him most, and that is where he made his greatest contributions to Canadian journalism – for the Globe, National Post, Sun Media and CanWest Global. His reporting often eschewed officials and experts, preferring to focus on the struggles and suffering of ordinary people.

Matt had a soft spot for the Canadian troops he frequently met in the world’s conflict zones. He spent more time with CAF soldiers, sailors and aircrew than any other Canadian reporter – from sailing the South China Sea to flying over the North Pole. And Afghanistan, especially Afghanistan. He felt it was important to tell Canadians stories about the young men and women they send into danger. Matt also formed a special bond with a small group of US Marines with whom he was “embedded” during the second invasion of Iraq in 2003. For six weeks he lived out of an armoured vehicle, which came under frequent attack from Saddam’s army. His Marine friends say his battlefield experience and sang froid helped to settle their nerves!

No matter where he was in the world, Matt kept in touch with family – not just his parents and brothers, but nephews and nieces, cousins and second cousins. From a remote hotel room in Siberia he would book family trips, using his millions of air mile points to make it possible. And whenever he came home, he would send an email advising family, “The Ego has landed”, and that we needed to organize a family dinner.

A war correspondent leads a lonely existence, but Matt made many lifelong friends around the world. There are people mourning his passing in Tokyo, Moscow, Warsaw, London, Dallas, Peshawar, Manila and more. Like his family and friends in Canada, they will remember Matt as generous, courageous, and yes, at times outrageous. We will not see his like again.
Recent stories

55 Years of Friendship

Shared by Greg Kay on April 13, 2021
I had the privilege of being Matthew's friend for almost 55 years.  We met in grade 7 after my family moved from Montreal to Kanata.  My first remembrance of Matthew is how impressed he was with my level of proficiency in French.  It did not take long for Matthew to surpass me in fluency and he continued his love of languages by later studying Latin and German in high school.

One of Matthew's greatest loves was hockey and we were teammates on the Carleton Flyers, the Kanata Chiefs and the Sir Robert Borden High School hockey team.  Matthew was a tenacious player and a force to be reckoned with when he had a full head of steam propelling him down the ice.

Over the years we went to many hockey games together including a number of Ottawa 67s games in their inaugural season, the Canada Cup, Ottawa Senators playoff games and most notably Game 1 of the Canada Russia Hockey Summit in 1972.  As a result of Matthew's father's connection with Hockey Canada, Matthew was able to secure 8 tickets for the opening game of the series at the Montreal Forum. The seats were at centre ice, only a few rows up and Matthew made certain that he retained the best of the best for himself, sitting in close proximity to Jean Drapeau, the Mayor of Montreal.

I recall Matthew's first job in the newspaper business, working as a paperboy for the Globe and Mail.  Matthew demonstrated his generousity by frequently delivering a paper to our residence even though we were not subscribers.

I was part of Matthew's first broadcasting experience which took place in Felix Baele's grade 10 French class.  Matthew and I acted out a skit in French based on a Hockey Night in Canada game.  I brought a tape recording of the HNIC theme song to class and played the role of the broadcast host while Matthew was the play by play man.  Our teacher was so impressed by our presentation that he sent us "on the road" to play before his other classes.  The role of play by play man became imprinted on Matthew's brain as decades later he would continue to improvise play by play scenarios usually involving himself as a player and the listener as a linemate.  As I recall, his team always scored.

As the years passed, I would sometimes not hear from Matthew for long intervals but then I would receive a telephone call from Whistler where Matthew was reporting on skiing or a postcard from a hotspot he was visiting.  I would also visit Matthew in Europe on occasion.  In 1984 my wife Lynda and I went skiing in Austria and met Matthew at the site of the Hahnenkamm ski race in Kitzbuhel.  Matthew showed us around town and later gave us the use of his rental vehicle for several days so we could travel through Austria and Germany.

In 2000 I visited Matthew in London and returned again the following year with my daughter Elizabeth.  On both visits Matthew performed exceptional services as a tour guide.

On his many visits to my residence in Cobourg, Matthew regaled all assembled with stories of his latest adventures as well as updates regarding the lives of his brothers, nieces and nephews for whom he had great love and affection.

Matthew was truly a one of a kind individual and as many others have said, we will not see the like of him again.  He will be missed.

He'd never get fooled again

Shared by Mark Fisher on April 11, 2021
Matthew always seemed to know how to game the system, whether it was joining Boy Scouts in 1967 simply so he could get a trip to Expo '67 in Montreal, after which he quit the Scouts, or knowing the Official Airline Guide better than anyone at an airline booking office - so that he could get cheap flights, free flights and so on. But as a Port Arthur kid about 7 years old, he wasn't so worldly wise. Well aware of Matthew's extreme and deep interest in baseball, our father, Douglas, bought him a first baseman's glove - a beautiful thing. But I guess it aroused envy with one neighbourhood friend, Billy Tanner, because Billy told Matthew that the glove could be softened up and made supple if he let is get soaked by rain, then left in the sun to dry. Taking Billy's advice, Matthew did exactly that. And the glove was ruined, stiff as a board. He'd only had it for a couple of days. Douglas of course was nonplussed. But it became a favourite family story over the years - how Billy Tanner conned Matthew into ruining his beautiful first baseman's mitt.
Shared by Wendel Fisher on April 11, 2021
Sometimes Matt would gloss over details. I once walked into Matt's bedroom after he had come back from overseas to see him laying on the bed with his open luggage strewn about the room. This wasn't unusual. What was unusual was that he had a CD box set from a thrash metal band sitting on his bed.

Anyone who knew Matt well could tell you that his affinity for "modern" rock music was just about zero, much less something like metal. I asked him why he had the box set and he looked over and said, "Oh, that stupid thing. I thought I was buying the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now. You can have it, it's terrible."

And that's the story of how I got 'Soundtrack to the Apocalypse' by Slayer for my friend Nick.