Obituary of Griffin Lance Fisher
Please share a memory of Griffin to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
Griffin was born to Sharon and Duke Fisher on February 4, 2000 in the family living room. Within minutes of Griffin’s arrival, he was touched and cooed over by his big brother Bud Fisher. Instantly, they would become inseparable.
As a newborn, he slept in the lean-to built by his mom and dad and camped on the Islands of Middle Saranac, both places that would become sacred retreats to him throughout his life.
Griffin's relationship with the water began on family camping trips to the Adirondacks before he could walk. At three months old, he was on the pit crew for his dad and his uncle Dave Preston in the 70 miler.
For the first two years of his life, he was nearly silent. Though he said a lot with his expressions, his first words would come from older brother, Bud, who would be his first voice.
Griffin's first teacher was his mother Sharon who homeschooled him in the classroom of the world and in the lecture hall of her heart.
Griffin's first concert was at the foot of his Cutchi (Aunt) Kendra, where she gave lessons in the boldness of creation.
Sharon’s nephew and Griffin’s Uncle James, through his music and humor, showed Griffin he had a verse to contribute.
Griffin found refuge in his Babcia and Papa who lived next door his entire life. Griffin would gorge himself on his favorite snacks and their unconditional love.
Griffin learned his first lessons of love and impermanence from his beloved family pets, Shabba, Cody, Tex and Bixby. He would still share his bed with Badger when visiting home.
His first favorite movie was The Iron Giant. He loved to both love and hate film passionately thereafter.
He studied at the Buddhist temple in Walton and never ceased to search, debate, and revise his spiritual journey.
Griffin dabbled in many sports, but football, bocce ball and canoeing would hold the greatest lessons.
Griffin paddled in the Generation gap four-mile race at five years old and raced in the Saturday youth races every year until he aged out with his best friend, first and perennial partner - brother Bud.
In 2010, Griffin fulfilled a lifelong dream and completed the General Clinton 70-mile Canoe Regatta with his dad in 11 hours 22 minutes and 48 seconds at just ten years old. It would be the first of six finishes by the time he was sixteen.
Griffin was the youngest paddler to stern the 70 miler when he partnered with his mother for her 70-mile marathon debut in 2013 at just 13 years old and led her through every second of an 11 hour race.
Griffin's love of the Adirondack and canoe racing put him on a collision course to race the Adirondack Classic 90-mile marathon. 2012 was his first finish of three finishes in this race. He said this race was “paddling through a postcard.”
Griffin continued to be an ambassador for the sport he loved even after a back surgery ended his official racing career. He even paddled into the Regatta museum to rescue the race artifacts in the flood of 2011. He continued to teach, encourage, and support paddlers pit crewing for cannonballers, Ausable marathoners, and his voice rang out from river banks wherever racers could be seen.
Griffin both loved and hated high school. He was embraced by many friends, Alan, Brandon, Dina, Owen, Elijah, Wyatt, and Daniel. He inspired and challenged teachers and coaches. And Griffin would not hesitate to tell you he was repulsed by the small mindedness in the classroom, halls, and the bleachers.
Griffin learned of compromise, but not too much of it, blending his family with Karen, Alexis, and Tristan in his dad's home. He watched the seasons change on Guilford lake while living with his mom.
At the vastness of the ocean, Griffin learned to be right sized while vacationing with Grandpa Jim, Aunt Theresa, and the rest of mom's family in Myrtle Beach.
His Aunt Sue and Uncle Kurt taught him how we are truly eternal by living in a way to honor his namesake Lance Zytka.
Accepted to Emerson College,where he joined his brother in Boston, for intense years of learning both in classrooms, living rooms, and protests on the square.
At Emerson, Griffin found his life partner Andy Caira. With Andy
Griffin found love, creative passion, righteous indignation, and impatience for a better world, now. He also found a third family that embraced him, fed him, and nurtured his need to belong with the Cairas.
Most recently, Griffin made his own family and creative community in Boston and Queens where he lived, painted, danced, played, and laughed with the family of their own creation with Andy, Aiden, and Zoe. Their studio always smelled of paints, their halls filled with music, and their kitchen a place of laughter, revolution, and love.
Griffin truly loved city life, encouraged by his cousin Naiim to find his inner New Yorker. Griffin painted his messages on buildings and bridges, in the minds of those who saw his street theatre, and the hearts of anyone whoever looked into his eyes. He left many works that will continue to inspire us all to connect, question, and create.
Griffin taught others to save themselves as a swim instructor and learned to save others as a lifeguard during summers at Guilford lake. He continued his efforts with his last act on this world by donating his organs in order to save others.
Griffins ashes will be carried by friends and family to his holy places: Middle Saranac Lake, At the start of the 70 miler, The Family Leanto, The Fishers river cabin, A place where his family pets are buried, Along the Susquehanna river, Death Valley, and an undisclosed place Griffin has never been to continue the adventure.
Griffin's college entrance exam:
"Throughout my life fitting in to any group has been extraordinarily difficult. From birth, I felt I didn’t fit in with my own family, a Griffin among all the ‘Victors’. Even then I wanted to struggle against it. I asked my family to call me ‘5’, as I wanted to be named Victor H. Fisher V. As I got older, I was able to concede the name, but not much else. My parents separating concluded the salad days of my life and hurled me into a dreary act II. After being homeschooled for most of my life, I entered into the confusing jungle of public school, and immediately began not fitting in. My brother helped push me to love learning, and the atmosphere in public school was starkly different. Instead of happily pursuing academics, students hated going to school and only waited for recess. The other students would pick on me because I packed extra algebra and Dante’s Inferno to read when I had finished the other work. I told my parents I wanted to skip a grade because, frankly, I was bored with school. My Dad begged me not to skip, as he had done it before me. He showed me pictures of him with two black eyes and a broken nose. He said nothing; dating, sports, friends, academics, bullying; nothing would be easy. It did not deter me in the slightest. As I entered in the sixth grade I still found no clique of my own. Everyone who didn’t know me called me a genius, ignorant of how much I hated it. My few friends and I would play games we made up, and draw huge maps in notebooks so we could Dungeons and Dragons style explore them. In 7th and 8th grade the jokes and comments turned mean. My fellow students would badger me on my clothes, my ‘look’; converse and unkempt hair. Throughout middle school I wrote poetry, short stories, diaries, and I fell in love with the saxophone. In 9th grade I experienced a personal renaissance, and my true personality bloomed with support from a small, tight knit group of friends. I fell in love with hip-hop, modern and classic, as well as film. My days became busy, either watching movies, or listening to music. These things did not make a difference to anyone, really. In fact, in Bainbridge New York, the only two genres of music recognized as music were country and western. Both teachers and students labeled me as an odd duck, and many resented me for my political leanings. I was a liberal, vegan, Buddhist in an ocean of hunters, neo-cons, and racists. To only further damage my connection to my peers, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, and shortly after was stuffed into a back brace. Now crammed into a plastic shell and clad in my best cons, I was ready to take on a new challenge and put myself out there. I joined the soccer team, and was immediately terrible. I continued to be terrible as my team won the MAC championships. I was no stranger to the title of ‘team manager’, but that especially stung. My condition worsening made things even harder. In 10th grade I quickly earned the nickname “the Hunchback of Notre Dam” due to my bent stature, and at this point one might say I embraced my differences and became the outgoing outcast I am today. Without ever fitting in, being accepted, I joined the drama club, pep band, jazz band, and made my academics exceptional. Struggling to find where I belong not only made me try as much as possible, it also tempered me with perseverance. Being an outcast made me weary of joining the herd, and instead I like to disrupt the herd and be contrarian. I will go to great expense to expose people to different perspectives, and accept perspectives from all."