Carbondale mourns loss of beloved, longtime teacher
Bonnie Fischer, a beloved Carbondale teacher whose passion and dedication kept her doing the job she loved with enthusiasm for five decades, right up until summer school last month, has died.
Fischer had been battling cancer for the past few years. She died Aug. 1 at age 75, having spent nearly half a century teaching in Carbondale elementary schools alone.
She taught second grade at the former Carbondale Elementary School, which in 2009 was repurposed as the Third Street Center for nonprofit organizations. The park behind the center was named Bonnie Fischer Park in her honor.
For the past several of her 47 years with the Roaring Fork Schools, Fischer was head librarian and technology teacher at Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale.
“Anyone who spent any time around Bonnie knew the passion, dedication, care, empathy and joy she brought to her roles in the classroom and in the library — year after year — which is something that all educators can aspire to,” CRES Principal Matt Koenigsknecht said. “She will be missed by teachers, parents and especially the students whom she loved with all her heart.”
Fellow former Carbondale Elementary teacher Susan Lane of Grand Junction said Fischer was still determined to be in the library this fall, even after learning that the cancer had spread to her brain.
“Her dedication to teaching and her passion to teach was a model for all of us,” Lane said. “It was her addiction, and she just couldn’t make herself stop doing it.”
Fischer was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Fischer, in 2008.
She moved to Redstone when her coal miner father transferred to the Mid-Continent coal mine there, and graduated from Glenwood Springs High School, according to an article that appeared in Carbondale’s Sopris Sun newspaper in 2014.
She attended college at Mesa State in Grand Junction and the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, eventually earning a master’s degree in technology and pioneering the use of computers in Carbondale classrooms.
“In 1995, she was the first teacher to use computers in the class, adding to the other avant-garde elements in her classroom,” according to the Sun article.
Instead of desks, her classroom had couches, a large rug to sit on and various “critters” for the students to play with and learn about, the article noted.
Fischer also organized the school’s float in Carbondale’s Potato Day parade each year, and was the driving force behind the annual Veterans Day program that to this day invites local veterans to come and be honored.
“Bonnie’s incredible dedication and passion for education and her community is hard to adequately describe,” said Rob Stein, superintendent of Roaring Fork Schools.
“That she was so loved by her students, parents and colleagues is a testament to who she was and how she impacted everyone around her,” he said. “We are all deeply saddened by this loss.”
A complete obituary appears in today’s Post Independent. A memorial service is planned for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, at the Orchard Gathering Center in Carbondale.