LIGONIER — Ligonier Mayor Patty Fisel, 82, died Tuesday morning, April 25, surrounded by her family after a battle with cancer. Fisel served the City of Ligonier as mayor for 15 years and was named Citizen of the Year in 1994.
“She loved the city of Ligonier. When her husband passed, she wanted to serve the city any way she could,” said Robin Galloway, deputy clerk and a cousin by marriage.
Fisel was an artist at Sorg Products for many years and was a lifetime entrepreneur. She owned and operated her own antique store for many years. She also renovated several buildings in downtown Ligonier, a home on 3rd Street and her current historic home on Main Street.
“She was an amazing woman,” Galloway said. “I could come in (to work) every morning and see the bright smile on her face. … She was an encourager. We loved seeing her every morning. We were lucky to work for her.”
She leaves behind a legacy of community service, including establishing the Ligonier Visitor’s Center with Betty Peterson, being a charter member and past president of the Future Ligonier Alliance and was a charter member of the Ligonier Business Association. She was also a past president of the Ligonier Rotary Club and a member of Burr Oak Church. Fisel was passionate about both the history and future of Ligonier.
Galloway described Fisel as “a people’s mayor,” explaining she was known for walking through town chatting with both residents and visitors alike. One thing she did not like was that the door to the Mayor’s office would lock for safety reasons, preventing people from just walking into her office to discuss their concerns. Until entering hospice care a few weeks ago, Fisel was still on the phone discussing business.
She was known for assisting the clerk treasurer’s office when distraught customers came in to discuss their utility bill.
Fisel was born April 11, 1941, the daughter of Allce Marie (Amick) and Richard D. Schlemmer in Kimmell. On March 22, 1957, she married Thomas E. Fisel Sr. in the Solomon Creek Church parsonage.
She is survived by her daughters, Teresa A. Linville, Greenville, Ohio and Pamela M. (Jerry) Howard of Montgomery, Mich.; brother Calvin (Susan) Schlemmer, Angola; Sisters Jeannie (Bill Adair) Gibson, Middlebury, LInda (Michael) Hamlin, Churubusco, and Nancy (Joe) Brown, Syracuse, five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held in Fisel’s honor at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at Stones Hill Community Church, 151 W. Stones Hill Road, Ligonier. Pastor Joey Nelson will officiate. Burial will follow at Oak Park Cemetery in Ligonier.
Family and friends will be received from 2-8 p.m. Friday, April 28, and from 2-8 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at Yeager Funeral Home, 1589 Lincolnway South, Ligonier.