The temptation is to say that with the passing of John P. Fishwick (above) at 93, the last of some type of person has left us. But that's not true. He was a man who left a large footprint on the Roanoke Valley and it was not one forged on the sweat of others. He did his own sweating.
He got rich, but he never forgot that he was not always rich, that a lot of people never would even reach the level of subsistence and he remembered them. When Vic Thomas left the General Assembly a few years, he uttered the most memorable line of his life, "Don't forget them that don't have nothing." Vick was not an English professor. He was a humanitarian. Like Jack Fishwick.
Warner Dalhouse is quoted in today's local daily as saying, "A lot of people spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to pay as few taxes as possible. I remember Jack Fishwick saying, 'We live in America and it's one of the greatest privileges that we could hope for. I don't mind paying my share of the taxes and I'm not looking for ingenious ways to pay less.'"
Fishwick's stamp is all over this region and it will be there for a very long time. He was a man of his time, of this time and of the future. We have few of those. But they're not all gone and I don't think they ever will be. Jack Fishwick, I suspect, would agree with that.
(Virginia Tech photo.)