Born and raised in Arlington, Va., Deer Isle Town Manager James Fisher is “related to a lot of families in the area,” including the Wymans and Nashes in Washington County (his grandmother was a Nash from Cherryfield) and the Rev. Jonathan Fisher, the first Congregational minister in Blue Hill.
“I was a summer person on Tunk Lake (in eastern Hancock County) all my life,” said Fisher, who graduated from Bowdoin College in 1979, served in the Peace Corps in South America and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He did his Ph.D. research as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh; his doctorate is in urban regional planning.
An interesting career brought Fisher back to Maine years ago. He taught a year at Bates College, worked for Central Maine Power, served 17 years as the planner for the Hancock County Planning Commission, and then rejoined the Peace Corps for a year’s service in Colombia.
Until recently, Deer Isle’s three selectmen managed the town by having “the first selectman here for four hours a day,” said Selectman Peter Perez. Voters approved hiring a full-time town manager, and Fisher started in that position on Jan. 8, 2018.
“Getting a town manager was a real big step forward, having a full-time person here” at the town office, Perez said.
Fisher and his wife, Donna, have lived in Blue Hill for some 18 years. They have two sons: Keith, an engineer, and Greg, a University of Southern Maine graduate. The Fishers also have a grandson.
Donna volunteers at the Tree of Life Food Pantry & Turnstyle Thift Shop in Blue Hill, and James, a musician, plays the bassoon and tuba with two local bands and belongs to the Flash! in the Pans Steel Drum Band and the University of Maine at Machias Ukulele Club.