SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - A Slidell pilot known for his flying and his faith is laid to rest - and remembered for living a "higher life."
Wayne Fisher, 68, and his co-pilot Donald Pechon, 59, died last week, in a small plane crash near the Slidell Airport. At a moving memorial at Northshore Church on Tuesday, hundreds paid tribute to Fisher. His widow, Kim, says her late husband lived what she called, "the great adventure," a full life of faith and flying.
Just days after the small plane crash that took his life, a table filled with the tokens of valor sat at the front of the church sanctuary offering just a small glimpse of who Fisher truly was. A man who gave his life in service, not prone to bragging about his accomplishments.
Fisher's pastor, Larry McEwan, says Fisher was a man "who truly understood the most important things in life are not really things at all, but that life was about relationships: with God, and with others. And Wayne L. Fisher had both."
Fisher graduated top in his class at the Citadel. He was an Army chopper pilot during Vietnam. His later used his experience in battle, to help the St. Tammany and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's departments, as a helicopter pilot and reserve deputy.
McEwan says Fisher was a distinguished pilot with over 18,000 hours of flying time. But his career was winding down. Fisher had just retired from law enforcement in February.
Fisher was flying in his spare time for the St. Tammany Mosquito Abatement Department, spraying for mosquitoes when his plane went down.
Fisher's son Christopher said, "Unfortunately it happened the way that it did, but it was something that he loved."
Fisher was a devoted husband. a father of four, and a grandpa to four other kids.
"We have a gaping hole where he was, because he was so much to us," said Fisher's daughter, Amanda Rigsby.
His widow remembers the love her husband shared with her for 36 years.
"To be loved like that - it's just the greatest thing."
Fisher found himself in the cross hairs of danger so many times before. But he often found divine protection and divine redemption.
Barry Winters was a close friend to Fisher, and led a Bible study with him. Winters said, "It wasn't so much what he said. We saw him. We saw how he lived his life and how much he loved the Lord."
It only seems appropriate then, those who paid him final respects couldn't help but lift their hands heavenward to honor a life lived for a higher purpose. Just off Interstate 12 at the Veterans Cemetery, many of the men Fisher carried in the bonds of friendship, carried Wayne Fisher to his final resting place.
He was given full military honors, and an honorary helicopter hovered overhead. Loved ones below waved a gentle goodbye - for now - believing they'll meet again on day.
With full life like Fisher's, it's safe bet that when he crossed into glory, he heard the one thing every Army pilot longs to hear from his Commander: Mission Accomplished.