Charles Osborne Fisher

Charles Osborne Fisher (Baltimore Sun / June 26, 2012)

Charles Osborne Fisher, a World War II veteran and prominent Carroll County attorney whose legal career spanned more than six decades, died Friday at his Westminster home from complications of a broken hip.

He was 95.

"Charles was a real gentleman and an old-time lawyer with modern ideas. He was always steady and consistent," said Herbert S. Garten, a partner in the firm of Fedder and Garten. "He was like an older brother to me and many other lawyers. He was a role model."

The son of a Ford dealer and a homemaker, Mr. Fisher was born in Washington and in 1921 moved to a house on North Court Street, across from the Court House in Westminster, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

"His father founded the first automobile salesroom in Carroll County, and when he was old enough, he helped his father's work crews push Model T Fords from the Western Maryland railroad station up Main Street to the showroom to assemble them for sale," said a son, Charles O. Fisher, who is also an attorney and a member of his father's firm, Walsh and Fisher.

After graduating from St. John's High School in Westminster, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1938 from what is now Loyola University Maryland.

He worked as a social worker in Baltimore while attending the University of Maryland Law School at night. His law school career was interrupted in 1941 when he enlisted in the Army.

Mr. Fisher, who was with the Signal Corps, was assigned to Fort Monmouth, N.J., where he spent the war years as an instructor. He attained the rank of captain and was discharged in 1946.

He returned to the University of Maryland, where he earned his law degree in 1947, and began his legal career with D. Eugene Walsh, whose father had established the Westminster law practice in 1896.

The partners changed the name of the East Main Street firm to Walsh and Fisher.

"My father was really a 20th century version of the country lawyer. He did real estate, wills, trusts, estates, and defended people charged with crimes," said his son, who lives in Westminster. "The only thing he didn't do were domestic cases."

"We were very good friends even though he practiced law a little bit longer than I have," said William B. Dulany, who is a partner in the Westminster law firm of Dulany Leahy & Curtis, LLP.

"I remember when I came to Westminster in the early 1950s to practice law, Charley had a big dog, Rebel, that wandered the town. He always slept on my stoop and I accused him of keeping my clients away," Mr. Dulany said with a laugh.

Mr. Dulany described his friend as an "outstanding lawyer who was well-spoken when on his feet."

"Charley was an active trial lawyer and well recognized in our community. He was also very interested in all matters in the county and more active in civic affairs than the average person," said Mr. Dulany.

Mr. Fisher was a former president of the Maryland State Bar Association and had also served as president and trustee of the Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers.

Mr. Fisher, who had been president of the University of Maryland Law School Alumni Association, retired from his law practice earlier this year.

In a state bar association profile, Mr. Fisher explained his enthusiasm for the law.

"I'm happy to get up in the morning. There's something new all the time," he said. "As long as the good Lord gives me the strength, I hope to continue to practice law. The advantage of practicing in a small town is that everyone knows each other. You become part of the community."