• News New Blog Banner

  • Jeanne Fischer, Pediatric Physical Therapy Pioneer and Distinguished Mentor, Dies at 94

    One of the first school therapists in Washington State and a lifelong advocate for persons with disabilities, physical therapist (PT) pioneer Jeanne Fischer, PT, died on September 4, 2018, in Tacoma, Washington. She was 94.

    A graduate of the physical therapist educational program at the University of Kansas in 1948, Fischer began her at St Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1958, she began a 31-year tenure as a PT for the Tacoma, Washington, School District while married and raising 3 young daughters. It was during her years as a school-based PT that Fischer gained her reputation as an outstanding mentor and advocate.

    Fischer was a founding member of the former Section on Pediatrics (now the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy), serving as the group's vice chair from 1979 to 1983. She also served as head of the Pediatric Specialty Council responsible for the development of the APTA specialty certification in pediatric physical therapy. In 1981, she was honored with the section’s G.E. (Bud) De Haven Award for extraordinary service and, in 1984, received a certificate of appreciation for outstanding service as the pediatric representative to APTA’s initial Task Force in Clinical Specialization.

    The academy further acknowledged Fischer's commitment to mentorship when it created the Jeanne Fischer Distinguished Mentorship Award in 1993. The award, bestowed annually at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting, recognizes an academy member who has demonstrated sustained, altruistic mentorship beyond that expected within their regular employment.

    In addition to honors from the academy, Fischer received numerous national and state awards. APTA recognized Fischer with both a Lucy Blair Service Award and Henry O. and Florence Kendall Award. Fischer received a Distinguished Service Award from the Washington State Physical Therapy Association and the William Duncan Award from United Cerebral Palsy of Washington. In 1996, APTA honored Fischer for 50 years of membership and service, calling her a pioneer in the profession.

    Memorial donations may be made to United Cerebral Palsy. More information celebrating Fischer's life can be found here.


    • Jeanne was a real champion for physical therapy, especially the Academy and all its activities. I am very proud to have received the Jeanne Fisher Distinguished Mentorship Award. A favorite photo is always right on my desk--a young student's wrist and hand being lovingly aligned by Jeannie--one of my dearest possessions. Thank you Jeanne for all that you did for us!

      Posted by Toby Long on 10/3/2018 4:37 PM

    Leave a comment
    Name *
    Email *