Alumni Spotlights

Around the World and Back

Gary Fish ’62 Followed His Passion Wherever It Took Him

SAE_MT_S17_GaryFishGary Fish ’62 wasn’t sure about joining a fraternity, but Bob Means ’62 and Tom Ross ’62 convinced him to give Sigma Alpha Epsilon a try. “I was financially strapped, but they thought I could join the kitchen crew to earn my room and board. It was the best thing I could have done. Montana Beta gave me a sense of belonging and expanded my social network.”

His role in the kitchen fostered a relationship with the house cook, Mrs. Yonce, and housemother, Mrs. Hodgson. “They were wonderful ladies whom we all appreciated very much. They gave us some sense of stability.” Gary also built a friendship with his Little Sister of Minerva, Gwen McClain Anderson. “Our little sisters were wonderful women and they helped us view women with the respect they deserve. I have a lifelong friendship with my little sister to this day.”

During his years at UM, Gary was a cheerleader and loved football games. “One of my fraternity brothers bet me a six pack of beer to try out for cheerleading. They needed two men and I knew two men were auditioning, including Louis Garcia ’64. I thought it would be easy to screw up the audition, not be picked, and still win the beer. But since three males showed up, they decided to take all three. Turns out, I really enjoyed it. And even when my fraternity brothers teased, I still got to spend time with the attractive ladies on the team—eat your hearts out you turkeys!”

After graduation, Gary followed his passion for teaching history and drama all the way to Japan. “I intended to stay two years, but I fell in love with Japan and taught for 25 years there.” Gary and his wife, Alaete, a Brazilian native, both have a heart for education and made teaching a priority. “I didn’t just teach the subject matter to my students, but taught the importance of being caring, respectful, and compassionate human beings and to never stop learning. It is so important to value and educate our youth properly if we hope to have a strong, compassionate nation.”

Since retiring in 1995, Gary has traveled around the world. He dabbles in photography, writing, singing in the community and church choirs, and acting. Gary has done extra work in movies, commercials, and student films. “I love doing comedic plays, which wouldn’t surprise my fraternity brothers; I did a lot of stand-up comedy as an undergraduate at fraternity functions.”

While living abroad, Gary lost touch with many of his fraternity brothers, but since returning stateside, he has tried to reconnect. “We began to have our reunions in Big Fork, which helped, and I’ve tried to stay in touch with Bob and Tom, as well as Harold Gilkey ’62, Jimmy Tecca ’65, Dick Ford ’64, Ron Long ’62, Bill Beecher ’63, and others too numerous to mention.”

Gary hopes to be more involved with the chapter in the future and says, “I’m incredibly impressed with the work being done to help revitalize the chapter and build our membership. My hope is that Montana Beta will continue to grow and foster the same values we had as members so long ago and help lead other students to more wholesome lives both on campus and beyond.”

To contact Gary, you can send him an e-mail at grizzfishes@wispwest.net.

 

To read more spotlights click the links below.

Fall 2008: Kenneth C. Mlekush ’60
Spring 2009: Bill Bouchee ’63
Summer 2010: John L. Olson ’62, David Bell ’96
Fall 2010: Lawrence “Tony” Wertz ’65
Spring 2011: Dennis Stevens ’64
Fall 2011: Tom Ross ’62
Spring 2013: Bob Haynam ’65, Max Boese, Oregon Gamma ’62
Fall 2013: Jim Wilits ’64, Kurt Ingold ’14
Spring 2014: Bob Higham ’58
Fall 2014: Don Krumm ’64
Spring 2015: Brent Beckley ’03
Fall 2015: Hal Gillet ’53 and Dick Ford ’64

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