Nurturing  potential throughout life

[reproduced from Age Venture News Service]


Just before the close of 2001, award-winning architect, Harold H. Fisher, age 100, was proclaimed “America’s Oldest Worker”. Fisher, a Grosse Point, Michigan resident, is president of a firm dedicated to religious architecture. Fisher’s notable achievements have positioned him as one of the nation’s top church architects.

Born October 28, 1901, Fisher’s love affair with religious architecture began at the age of 15 when he earned $2 per day as the apprentice of a church architect in Uniontown, PA. Still working five days a week at the firm that bears his name, Fisher is likely the architect with the longest continuous practice in the nation.

As the Depression years offered little work for architects, Fisher moved to Cleveland to live with his in-laws and found work as a property manager until WWII began. During the war, Fisher supervised the conversion of factories to wartime production.

Determined to return to the practice of religious architecture, Fisher moved to the Detroit area in 1945 and established Harold H. Fisher & Associates. For seven decades, Fisher has designed hundreds of churches and has been involved with many more religious facility-related projects, such as renovations, additions, alterations and consulting services. Honored many times for his work, Fisher received the Edward S. Frey Award in 1992, the highest given nationally for achievement in ecclesiastical design.

According to Fisher, his biggest challenge is “constantly desiring to improve present designs and preserve classical beauty that is otherwise cost-prohibitive in today’s market.” As an architect, Fisher believes his overall contribution has been to “provide houses of worship for thousands of people. I take great joy in creating artistic simplicity in church design, which I hope will help bring people into the church.”

Married to Maria Fisher, this father of nine children has 22 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. To keep in good physical shape, he works out at a local health club. To keep his mind in shape, he works 6-8 hours a day in his office, creating and designing churches. “Your brain is like a muscle,” says Fisher, “If you don’t exercise it vigorously, it becomes weak.”

Deeply honored at being recognized as America’s Oldest Worker in 2001, Mr. Fisher credits his work for his longevity. “When you find something you love to do,” he says, “it keeps you alive.”


Green Thumb Inc. launched the National Prime Time Awards program in 1998 to highlight the outstanding contributions and achievements that senior workers make in their communities and places of work.  Green Thumb is a non-profit organization with offices throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information about Green Thumb, now called “Experience Works”, visit


David Demko reports on lifestyle issues and trends in Aging America.  Comments may be sent directly to him at: This column may be used, free-of-charge, by print and broadcast media with the following attribution:“David Demko, AgeVenture News Service,” Photo credit: Toni Delacorte, Green Thumb Inc aka Experience Works.