Lessly “Count” Fisher Biography
|Quote||“Let there be light, and there was light.”|
|Time of Year||Spring|
|Vacation Spot||Hammond, Indiana & Austin, Texas|
Band leader, businessman and Chief of Police Lessly “Count” Fisher was born on August 19, 1923 in Canton, Mississippi to Ruby Mosby Fisher and future steelworker Seaser Fisher. Fisher was given the nickname of “Count” by Count Basie. He grew up in the New Edition section of East Chicago, Indian and attended Calumet Elementary School, Garfield Elementary School, and Columbus School, Fisher graduated from Washington High School in 1941. An accident in the steel mill inspired him to join his cousin, Wallace Hayes playing drums for the Nightsteppers. Fisher, along with childhood friend Jack McDuff, learned to read music from Jesse Evans while working as driver and bodyguard for entertainment businessman, Jake Brennan.
Touring the midwest, Fisher’s band also included Schoolboy Porter, Johnny Mott, Bill Lane and Aretta Lamar. In 1951, he met and toured several cities with singer Eve Rene. Later reunited with Rene, they played Indianapolis’ Joy Lounge and the Hubbub. Fisher married Rene and established the Carousel Club in the late 1950s. Over the years, they featured The Hampton Family, Rodney Dangerfield, June Christie, Leroy Vinegar, Freddie Hubbard, George Kirby, Redd Foxx, Moms Mabley, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff, John Coltrane and James Brown. The Fishers also participated in muscular dystrophy telethons with Lorne Greene. From 1963 to 1965, the couple operated the Chateau de Count and Eve near the Indiana State Capitol. There, they showcased Roy Hamilton, Lula Reed and Motown acts along with many other names.
In 1966, Fisher and Rene moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and played the London House as the house band. Eventually, Fisher moved away from show business and took a job as Sheriff’s Deputy for Kent County, Michigan. He was also Idlewild, Michigan’s first chief of police. Fisher and wife, Eve, now a retired civil servant, live in Grand Rapids. Their son, Rodney, is a musician who once played Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk with George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic.
Fisher was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2007.
Lessly “Count” Fisher, Sr., age 92 of Grand Rapids, passed away Sunday, November 22, 2015. Count had worked as a bailiff for the Kent County Friend of the Court, had been the Chief of Police for the Village of Idlewild, served as a union representative for Musicians Local, was a talented jazz musician and drummer, and was featured on the History Makers and has works recorded with the Library of Congress.
Count was preceded in death by his parents, Seaser & Ruby Fisher, and four brothers. Surviving are his loving wife of 53 years, Lois; his children, Darlene Parham, Lessly Fisher Jr., Marva Armstrong, Ralph Trotter, Ronald Trotter, Richard (Pat) Trotter, Rodney Trotter, and Reginald Trotter; sixteen grandchildren; twenty-seven great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchild.
A Memorial Gathering will be from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, November 29, 2015 at Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, 3627 Linden Avenue S.E. Grand Rapids (one block west of Eastern Avenue).
Honoring his wishes, cremation will take place. Arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids.