Catheryn Olivia Fisher-Saulisbury

Langevin • El Paraiso Funeral Home

Catheryn Olivia Fisher-Saulisbury, born on September 11, 1935, died on September 29, 2019.

Catheryn was a Black African American pioneer. She was the first Black African American to teach in elementary education in the Yakima School District Seven, Yakima, Washington.

Catheryn Olivia Fisher-Saulisbury, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend went to be with the Lord in heaven on September 29, 2019. Catheryn was born and raised and received her early education, elementary, middle (junior) and senior high school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She was one of four siblings, born the second child to John and Corine (Jones) Fisher. Education, and positive social, moral, ethical, and spiritual values were the focus areas in her life, and also in the other siblings’ lives. She was born into a family of educators. Her paternal grandmother was a teacher, and principal. Two aunts and a cousin were teachers. Catheryn was an honor student throughout her school years. She was her high school senior class valedictorian at her graduation exercises. She also graduated from college with honors. She graduated from Albany State (College) University with a bachelor of science degree in education, and a certification in library science. She was the president of the Young Women’s Christian Association while in college.

She completed advance studies in the language arts, with special emphasis in reading and counseling activities, at Central (College) University, University of Washington, Washington State University, and other universities in the State of Washington. She received Washington State Teaching Standard Certificate, and State of Washington Professional Education Certificate containing elementary and secondary teachers.

Catheryn married Dennis Saulisbury. They were blessed with three children, Mervyn, Darrell, and Sherryn Saulisbury.

Dennis Saulisbury served in the United States Air Force. When the children became school age, the family remained in one place. We moved from Fort Worth, Texas, Air Force Base to Spokane, Washington, Fairchild Air Force Base.

Dennis retired from the United States Air Force after serving thirty years. The family moved to Yakima, Washington.

Catheryn lived and worked in Yakima for many years teaching children in the Yakima School District. She has received many awards throughout her teaching career. Catheryn was the first educator in the Yakima School District to be appointed to serve on the District Court Federal Grand Jury for the eastern part of Washington State, for eighteen months under President Reagan’s Administration.

Catheryn received recognition from the Washington Education Association, and the mayor of Yakima Mrs. Betty Edmondson.

She was a Girl Scouts Mid-Columbia Council volunteer leader for over forty years.

Catheryn was a member of the Board of Directors, and member of the Executive Committee serving Girl Scouts in fourteen and a half counties in central Washington State, and northeastern Oregon. She facilitated the organization of the Girl Scouts at Nob Hill Elementary School, and prepared and displayed Girl Scouts material and uniforms at the local museum. Under her leadership the girls did various community projects, especially for the elderly ladies. Older Girl Scouts were inspired and encouraged to serve as pages in our state capitol in Olympia.

Girl Scouts were helped to complete projects to receive silver and gold awards from the Girl Scouts Council. She received pins, badges, and thank you certificates from Mid-Columbia Council. She was a delegate to annual meetings.

Catheryn was a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

In 1972 Catheryn became a member of Alpha Delta Kappa International Sorority for Women Educators with Pi Chapter, the Fidelis Zeta (retired teachers) Chapter until her death.

In 1976, Catheryn’s second grade class planted a Norway spruce (freedom tree) at Randall Park, Yakima in a United States centennial ceremony. The tree is still doing well.

She co-authored a second grade reading test for the Yakima School District, and tutored in the summer reading programs.

In 1982 she received the Mother of the Year Award from Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church; in 1987 the Nob Hill Elementary School Class Grade 2 most outstanding readers award; in 1988 she was nominated by the Girl Scouts Council for one of the Women of Achievement in Education Awards, sponsored by the YWCA. Avis De Ruter, Executive Director of the Mid-Columbia Council. The Girl Scouts presented Catheryn with a certificate of recognition. She received the Silver Sister Award from Alpha Delta Kappa sorority for twenty years of service. In 1989 she received the Excellence in Education Crystal Apple award.

Catheryn’s second grade class was profiled for one year by the Yakima Herald newspaper. The class was followed from second grade to high school graduation in the year 2000. All of the students that were in the class had done well in the academic areas, social and personal growth, from second grade through high school graduation. The students planned to continue their education.

In 1994 she received the teacher of the week award service to Yakima community award.

She also received the Black Women’s Coalition Education Award, a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune, noted Black American educator and founder of Bethune Cookman College, and the Davis High School Black Student Union Award for Outstanding Educator.

In 1998 she received the Golden Acorn Award from Nob Hill Elementary School, Yakima, Washington.

In 2001 Catheryn retired from Nob Hill Elementary School. Catheryn taught school for forty years. She received an Eisenhower High School Leadership Hero Award.

She attended (B.S.F.) Bible study at the First Presbyterian Church, and was a member of the National Education Association, Washington State School Retirees Association, and Bethal African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Catheryn had courage, strength, and integrity. She did small things with love. She was an educator who taught by example, and served as an unforgettable role model. Catheryn was a devoted mother and friend. Although she achieved many awards and recognitions, her achievements included nurturing and rearing her children and granddaughter Jazmine.

They were encouraged to do their best, work hard, enjoy life with a positive spiritual attitude, be honest and caring, show kindness to others and to strive for fulfillment emotionally. She would say often, go share the positive path will lead. Sometimes go where there is no path and leave a lasting trail.

Catheryn had an appreciation for the outdoors, a love of nature, an interest in other cultures, and a strength and a pride that was admired by family and friends. She was not a lady to bow to adversity, forever working in her flower gardens. She had a green thumb. Her ability to create something from nothing in the kitchen, preparing meals was amazing, and interestingly she liked sewing, painting, traveling, reading, and working with children.

Catheryn left a spiritual mark on our hearts.

Catheryn is survived by her son Darrell L. (Andrea) Saulisbury, Whittier, California; daughter Sherryn D. Saulisbury-Fraizer, Yakima, WA; five grandchildren: Dexter, Sahara, Savannah, Rakan Saulisbury, and Jazmine Fraizer; and one great-granddaughter.

She was preceded in death by her son Mervyn L. Saulisbury, her parents and grandparents, one brother, John R. Fisher, Boston, MA, two nephews and several cousins, her one brother killed in Vietnam, her husband Dennis Saulisbury, three aunts, five uncles, one niece, and two other nephews.

There will be a time of visitation Tuesday, October 15, 2019 from 4-8 PM, at Langevin El Paraiso Funeral Home. The funeral (Celebration of Life) will be Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at 1 PM, at the Greater Faith Baptist Church, 816 S. 6th St., Yakima, WA. Entombment will follow at Calvary Mausoleum in Yakima.

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rusty taylor

Her husband was a friend of mine. Yet he never let on what a wonderful wife he had.