Obituary for James Scott Fissel
James Scott Fissel passed away at the age of 71 on the morning of March 22, after a bravely fought long-term illness.
James will be lovingly remembered by his daughter, Allison F. Perry and her husband Mitchell, and their daughters Julia and Kimberly of Oxford, PA, by his sister, Emily Frost and husband Jim, of Stillwater, OK, by his brother Robert Fissel and wife Beth of Morris Township, NJ, by his former wife, Judy Kalt Skeels and her extended family, as well as nieces, nephews, and beloved friends.
Born to John and Lois Fissel on December 25, 1946, Jim early on discovered his abilities and love for music. After graduation from Moody Bible Institute and Northwestern Bible College (BA in Music), Jim served as Minister of Music at several churches in Evanston, IL, Coral Springs, FL and Grand Rapids, MI. In 1990 he began his tenure at Orchard Hill Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI where he creatively initiated stunningly effective programs in drama, visual art, and music. As a skilled musician, composer, curator, and director, Jim also founded MANNA, a local chapter of the Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA). Jim was the driving creative force behind MANNA which became the center-point for the art and faith movement in West Michigan. In 2004, MANNA, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Eyekons honored Jim by hosting “Art is Everywhere," a Christian art symposium inspired by Jim’s creative visual arts ministry.”
While battling Parkinson’s Disease, James became a successful and prolific painter utilizing a unique style of dots and orbs in his paintings. Watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth as a 6-year-old boy, he was captivated by the golden orb which she held in her hand, a symbol of the Queen’s sovereignty. He imagined what it would be like to be in the presence of God while singing, “Crown him with many crowns.” Years later this symbol flooded James’ artwork. In his own words, the orb signified God’s sovereignty in the universe and caused him to wonder about the symbols and icons used to represent the mysteries of life.
James’ greatest accomplishment has been his belief in people and their ability to reach deep within, realize their hidden talents, perfect them and use them. He believed that art is everywhere and there is an artist in us all.
FUNERAL NOTICE: A celebration of James’ life will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Williamstown, MA, on April 7th at 11AM. Burial will be held prior to the service at 10am in West Lawn Cemetery. All are welcome to join family and friends for a lunch reception following the service to honor and celebrate his life.
Memorial donations in memory of James can be made to Williamstown Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center or St. John’s Church. James received exceptional love and care from both. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit www.flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.