Joel R. Fischer

September 22, 1961 - January 8, 2024

09/22/1961 - 01/08/2024

In loving memory of Joel R. Fischer,

Born on September 22, 1961, in Oakland, California, Joel bid farewell to this world on January 8, 2024, in Newport News, Virginia. He was a remarkable individual who touched the lives of many during his time with us.

His journey spanned a total of 62 years, filled with joy, love, and an unwavering spirit. His sense of adventure led him to join the US Navy in 1983, where he served aboard various duty stations and naval vessels, including the USS Simon Lake, USS Ogdon, USS Mitscher, and USS John C. Stennis. After 24 years of Honorable Service, Joel retired.

In Charleston, SC, he found love and companionship with his beloved wife Colleen, whom he was married to for 30 wonderful years. Together, they filled their home with love and also, with pets. Joel was a proud cat dad to their beloved feline companion, Charlie Belle.

After retiring from the Navy, Joel set out on his next journey in pursuit of knowledge, resulting in a Bachelor of Science in Technology from Old Dominion University, which he achieved in December of 2008. Joel then began a new chapter as an Electrical Engineer at Newport News Shipbuilding. Joel was proud to have been a shipbuilder and to have worked on the USS Gerald R. Ford.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Joel had a zest for life that was truly inspiring. He always had a project on hand, whether it be helping neighbors or new acquaintances. His love for the outdoors drew him to activities such as working in the yard, cycling alongside his buddies Steve Reilly and Jim Petersen, and running. Music also held a special place in his heart, and he loved attending concerts, both big and small.

Joel was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Janet Fischer, his older brother Charles, and all his grandparents. Joel is survived by his beloved wife, Colleen Fischer, his sister-in-law Kathleen (Bill) Botley, sister-in-law Judy Sabel, nephew Grant (Katie Holland) Botley, cousins Dawn Carter, Kent Kupcho, Keith Kupcho, Mary Muha, and Jeanne Vukelich. To his nephew, Grant; Joel cherished your shared interests and time spent together, he was honored to be both your uncle and your friend. Although his passing leaves a void in the hearts of many, Joel’s memory will forever endure in the hearts of those who knew and loved him, especially his lifelong friend since high school, Doug Strain.

To honor Joel’s wishes, no formal services will be held. Instead, let us cherish his memory through actions that reflect his vibrant spirit. Take a walk, hike, bike, or plant some flowers, and revel in the joy of life, just as Joel did.

Joel R. Fischer lived a life that was nothing short of extraordinary. Loved by many and an amazing man in every sense, his beloved wife and family are truly devastated by his departure. As we bid him farewell, let us always remember that Joel lived a good life, brought joy to countless people, and will forever be missed.

May his soul find eternal peace, and may his memory continue to inspire us all.

“Fare you well, fare you well

I love you more than words can tell

Listen to the river sing sweet songs

To rock my soul…”

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Nate Kidd
1 month ago

I have always been blessed with good neighbors but Joel was a great one. He meant a lot to me as a friend and made me a better neighbor by example. I do not think I am special in that, but that he was special in that he made those around him better for knowing him. He was kind, trusting, and wise. He will be missed by all who knew him.

JJ Park
2 months ago


Although I didn’t know you for an incredibly long time, I appreciate the time I did. You were one of the most kind hearted people I’ve ever met. On more than one occasion you shared your knowledge with me and that is something I will appreciate and look fondly upon for the rest of my days. Thank you for being an awesome neighbor and a genuine person.

Mark bilyeu
2 months ago

Thank you for your friendship, serving with you was an honor. We had fun, we had adventures, we had bad times. All made better by knowing you. You saved my sanity more times than I can remember. From Simon lake to the Mitscher, couldn’t ask for a better shipmate.
Fair winds and following seas.

Shawn Langehennig
2 months ago

To the next Watering Hole my friend. May the Scottish Highland breeze cool you, the Alps of Alpbach lift you and a Sailors’ tide carry you. I have always appreciated the positive influence I received as a young man who just left home in 89′. I still run (sometimes) and I still lift(sometimes) but most of all, I still have that most valuable tool instilled by you, the positive outlook. Thank You Joel, for such a lifelong possession.

Frank Woodard III
2 months ago

Joel, rest in peace my neighbor and friend. I enjoyed talking to Joel about HII NNS and NNSY, house maintenance, football, and running over the backyard fence while taking a little break from during yard work. I also appreciated the help I got from Joel to get a former employee of mine a job at NNS when she decided to leave NNSY. Joel was always upbeat, positive, and RELAXED. God bless Joel and his family. He will be missed.

William M. Horwatt Jr.
2 months ago

Joel, rest peacefully with the Lord.
We shared many good times and some not so good times bringing CVN78 into her glory. Memories forever, and some of those we had shared together as friends. Part of an old irish proverb:

  • May the road rise to meet you.
  • May the wind be always at your back.
  • May the sunshine warm upon your face.
  • May the rains fall upon your fields.
  • May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
  • May each day have its own wonder and rebirth.

To Joel’s Family and friends, may your hearts be comforted in this time of loss. Just a blink of the eye in eternity until we are all joined together again.

Joel, thankyou for your service Sir.

Always your friend, Bill H.

Jamel Owens
3 months ago

Joel was an incredible human being. He was a great coworker and cared about doing things the right way. He was a great example for the youth and junior personnel. I pray for peace and comfort for his family. Just know that he was an admirable man and a great guy.

Janet Missman
3 months ago

I graduated in the same class as Joel (1979) We reconnected on FB all these years later.He was a good , kind man . I know he had a great sense of humor. Always at the ready with a funny comment. I’m sure he will be dearly missed by his family & friends. May he rest peacefully.

Timothy Peck
3 months ago

I am so saddened to hear of Joel’s passing. I’ve known Joel since high school….I was friends with his brother Chuck. In the past few years I really appreciated Joel’s sense of humor and his good sense. He was a source of peace for me in our internet conversations.

My best wishes to you Coleen and to his friends and extended family. He was a good man.

Jim Petersen
3 months ago

I’m going to miss you Joel. These last, too-few years of riding together have been a real blessing to me. Our bike trips were always something to look forward to, making retirement even more fun for me than it already was. Your crazy tee shirts, your specialized bicycle components and riding gear, and your wicked sense of humor contributed to making each of our rides a most-excellent time together (it didn’t matter if we were in blazing heat on the Chesapeake public trail or facing head winds with a 30-degree wind chill on Jamestown Island). Steve and I are really going to miss our sailor-brother on two wheels, but we will always be grateful for the time we got to spend together with you.