Council Bluffs lost a legend Friday when Gary Fiscus, who taught vocal music at Lewis Central High School for 31 years, died after a 12-year battle with cancer. He had an enormous impact on generations of students.
“We did this skit together for the students and he played Michael Jackson and I was Janet Jackson and he fell on the floor and, oh, that's a silly story," said Lewis Central speech teacher Laurie Nielsen. "He just was so much fun to be around."
Hundreds of his students have achieved all-state honors in vocal music, but for Fiscus, teaching was more than just musical excellence. “He loved music, but he loved kids more,” said Lewis Central drama teacher Tom McLaughlin. “Someone once said I became a teacher to teach music. Well, Gary taught kids and he used music and he used drama and he used humor to do that."
Former students, like science teacher Dave Bergman, remember him for the way he helped them with life. "Anytime I was ever stressed I could count on Gary. We would go for a walk and he'd let me vent and that happened a lot and he was able to get me through it."
Just look at his Facebook page and the more than 2,200 friends, showing the impact he had. “He was small in stature, but he could walk into a room and just come alive and there aren't very many people who can do that,” said Bergman.
Fiscus retired from Lewis Central in 2003.