Obituary of Peter Ramsay Fischer
If the value of a man’s life is measured by the number of friends he has made and people who loved him, then Peter Fischer truly lived a life of great worth. Peter of Bristol passed away on September 16, 2023, at the Sussman Hospice House in Rockport, following a 21-month battle with Pancreatic Cancer. However, Peter never let that disease conquer his spirit for life. He traveled to Louisiana for a music festival; canoed in northern Maine; hiked in Baxter State Park; as well as continued his involvement in three aquaculture businesses: Damariscove Seafood, Pemaquid Mussel, and Maine Fresh Sea Farms (Seaweed aquaculture), which he founded with Seth Barker.
Peter was born in Philadelphia, PA on March 11, 1952, the second child of Ramsay Fischer and Elisabeth Meulenkamp. Peter and his extended family would gather at the Jersey Shore during the summer months where his love of body surfing and the ocean began. Following a year at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, Peter returned to the Jersey Shore. Realizing that he wanted a rural life, not the hustle-bustle of the Jersey Shore, at age 20, he followed a group of friends to South Bristol, where he began to make a living off the ocean and a life nearby.
In 1973, he met Carol Jackson in Damariscotta. Their first dates were cross-country skiing. They relocated to South Portland in 1976, where Peter finished first in his class studying Marine Science at Southern Maine Vocational Institute. Peter and Carol married in 1979 in the Spurwink Congregational Church in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Peter’s career encompassed many aspects of the marine industry from offshore fishing with Hubba Bradford out of Portland; processing fish at Cozy Harbor
Seafood; managing the South Bristol Co-op; and conducting research at The Research Institute of the Gulf of Maine (TRIGOM). While working for the
Department of Marine Resources, Peter inspected seafood processing facilities. Later he worked for two of the largest Maine seafood companies, William Atwood Lobster Co., and Great Eastern Mussel. After leaving GEM, he started his own mussel aquaculture operation, Damariscove Seafood, at Clark’s Cove in Walpole. Over the years, Damariscove Seafood morphed into Pemaquid Mussel, which, under the leadership of Peter and Carter Newell, became one of the most renowned Mussel companies in Maine. Because he didn’t have enough to do, Peter and Seth Barker launched Maine Fresh Sea Farms, a seaweed aquaculture operation, also in Clark’s Cove. Both of these companies survive today. When he wasn’t working in the seafood industry, Peter worked in construction with his very good friend, Roy Penniman.
In 1989, Peter began monitoring the water quality of Boyd Pond in Bristol. Through the Lake Stewards of Maine, Peter was trained and certified to collect data every two weeks between May and October to help assess pond health, performing Secchi disk and view scope readings to measure water clarity and dissolved oxygen (DO). In 2000, he was named Pemaquid Watershed Association Volunteer of the Year. For a time he served as president of the Maine Volunteer Lake monitoring program and in 2004 was named volunteer of the year. In 2019, he received a plaque for 30 years of dedicated service for outstanding stewardship and commitment to the Protection of Maine Lakes.
In his spare time, Peter’s pastimes extended to organic gardening; for a few years, he met the requirements for MOFGA certification. Peter loved winter and had a passion for cross-country skiing, ice skating, and winter camping; while in the warmer months, he enjoyed canoeing, hiking, and making many trips into the back-country of northern Maine at all times of the year. He was a hard worker and was known to plant seeds at night in his garden via headlamp while listening to a Red Sox game.
With his soft smile, Peter made friends wherever he went. Thirty-plus years ago, Peter became part of a Men’s group with six of those members still meeting every six weeks. Over the years, he and Carol enjoyed traveling, especially to visit his relatives in The Netherlands. One of their most memorable trips was to the countries of Jordan and Egypt, with a boat trip up the Nile to the Aswan Dam, Lake Nassar and the Temples of Abu Simbel.
Besides his wife, Carol, Peter leaves behind a sister, Barbara (Dick) of New Jersey; as well as Carol’s siblings, Gail, Bruce (Lyn), and John (Carolyn), all of Maine. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews, a boatload of extended family and friends, and Iris, their third Golden Retriever.
Peter fought incredibly hard against this horrible disease. His loved ones wish to thank his doctors, nurses, and assistants at New England Cancer Specialists, Topsham – especially Dr. Brian Haney; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Dr. Christopher Manz, Dr. Elizabeth Lee; Brigham Women’s Hospital; the Beacon Hospice workers, especially Katie, and the caregivers at the Sussman Hospice House. And most of all, endless gratitude to Dr. Minda Gold of Damariscotta, whose loving care went above and beyond anything we could have imagined.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Peter’s name to:
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network: http://www.pancan.org
1500 Rosecrans Ave. 877-272-6226
Manhattan Beach CA 90266
Or to the American Cancer Society.
A Celebration to honor Peter’s life will be held at the 1812 Farm in Bristol, on
October 9, 2023, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Please bring stories to share.
Arrangements by Direct Cremation of Belfast.