Remembering Emily

Emily Fisher In Letters




Earlier this year, Emily Fisher's sister, Kathy Klyce, asked friends to contribute their favorite stories or memories of Emily. Below are just a few submissions that tell more about this well-loved Memphian and how her death affected others. (The writers' comments have been edited for space restrictions.)

I was too young to move in Emily's circles. Still, I certainly knew of her; my parents, Sherwood and Joan Lohrey, were frequent guests at her home. I talked with her at Theatre Memphis' 75th Anniversary Party; before she left, I shared with her a rather funny tale and she issued forth an extraordinary, peacock-like burst of laughter. . . . For me Emily's death was not just personal. It was epic. She represented for me everything that was fine and good about Memphis and her death felt like the end of a way of life.

— David Lohrey

Emily was my next-door neighbor growing up. We shared many great times together, going swimming, riding polo ponies, going to ballet classes, putting on neighborhood plays in our deep backyards. . . . We could play at any of the neighbors' houses as long as we went home when Mary Byrd Klyce rang the dinner bell. The loss of Emily left a vacancy not able to be filled. We hope that her family can remember her for all the goodness she gave us.

— Brucia Pearce Mory and family

Emily was one of the most delightful people I have ever met. We played together in a tennis league and I loved being her partner; I never heard a sigh of disgust when I missed a shot. I will never forget the day I opened the paper and saw the news about her tragic death. I marvel at her family's honest confrontation with the terrible facts and their willingness to share their grief with the community.

— Eliza Kirk

Sometime during our late high school and early college days, I took Emily out on a number of occasions. I think everyone knew that she was a genuine intellect — something that was not looked on as a particular virtue by "the guys" at that time. But for me, Emily's brainpower and her musical talent were fascinating and a large part of her considerable if offbeat charm.

I also remember Emily's great laugh — a hoot really — and a certain jerky mannerism, which totally disappeared when she picked up her guitar.

— Allen T. Malone

Emily and I were friends throughout high school. We were freshmen the same year in college. For Princeton's first big weekend (the Kingston Trio was a highlight), I invited Emily to come down from Wellesley. It was my first date in college and probably her first as well. We enjoyed the weekend. Emily was off-hand, funny, just enough ill at ease so that it masked how bright she was. It did not take long to know that she had rock-solid values and integrity without being judgmental. Every memory I have of Emily is a happy one. — Alex Wellford

Emily and I went to Hutchison and St. John's Methodist Church [and we] made our debut together. I am now living in the house I grew up in on Harbert and I often "see" Emily in those rooms where she would come over to play.

— Sandra Garner Ireland

I used to go to Nancy Harrison's aerobics class with Emily; she was always so cheerful and upbeat. I forward articles about her case to Nancy, who lives in Nashville now. . . . We miss Emily too.

— Mary Beth Burnett

Of my many memories of Emily, one stands out: the Nutcracker dollhouse (of 1981 or 1982). I was playing in the Memphis Symphony for the annual production of The Nutcracker by Ballet Memphis, and [bought] a raffle ticket from Emily at the Friday-night dress rehearsal. When she came on stage with ballet officials and they drew my ticket from the basket, my name was called out. I have pictures of the lovely dollhouse, a three-story Victorian, which Emily brought by my house on a snowy Sunday afternoon, and my happy children sitting around it on my sun porch on the cold tile floor. The dollhouse is still in my upstairs playroom, and now [my grandaughter], Corinne, is the small child playing there.

— Ann K. Ray

We met for the first time at the traditional Walter Klyce family Christmas night party. Emily and her sister Kathy gave me the once over — their cousin Brig's fiancée — and Emily pronounced, "You'll do fine. You look like a Klyce." I felt honored, accepted, and embraced simultaneously. Emily's vibrance was so tremendous that even now, I can easily recall the sound of her voice, the way her face tilted when she laughed, and how I always felt in her presence: alive. — Ellen Cooper Klyce

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