By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
When Phoebe Fisher came back to Moorefield, she told her mother she’d give it five years. “I just wasn’t sure it would work out,” she said.
Phoebe Fisher Heishman will celebrate her 45th anniversary as editor and publisher of the Moorefield Examiner this week. John Lennon said it best, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Phoebe was in Morgantown in the spring of 1968. Having spent more than two years in San Francisco, she was given an opportunity she couldn’t refuse.
“Guy Stewart, the dean of the Journalism School and Greg Van Camp ganged up on me,” she said. “They wanted me to be the writer/researcher for a new public television station they were starting in Morgantown. It was to be the first public television station in the state.”
Actually, knowing Phoebe’s fascination for history and culture, Gregory Van Camp wanted her to focus on a series of shows that showcased the heritage and folklore of West Virginia. “I got to travel around the state and interview neat people,” she said.
In addition, West Virginia University presented Phoebe with the opportunity to get her masters degree in journalism at little cost, “because I was an employee of the university,” she said.
“I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to come back to West Virginia.”
In September, tragedy struck. Phoebe’s father, Ralph E. Fisher died suddenly. Her mother, Katherine, who had published the Examiner while Ralph was in the Navy, gallantly stepped in again. Phoebe would come home from Morgantown and help out on weekends. Katherine was doing the editorial writing.
“At one point, Mother said she wanted me to think about coming back full time. She said if I didn’t want to do it, she would think about selling the newspaper. She was in her mid-60s and just didn’t want the stress of doing it anymore.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about it. In August, I made the decision to keep the paper in the family. I was 28 years old and told my mother I would give it five years.”