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Remembering our Friend, Carrie Ellyn Fisher

08-20-2018 | By Carol Clark | Issue 99

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Ellyn Fisher, January 19, 1959 - August 4, 2018.

Carrie Ellyn Skokut Fisher of Reston, VA, born on January 19, 1959 in Garfield Heights, Ohio, to the late Margaret Skokut and the late Miller Skokut, passed away at age 59 on August 4, 2018 in Reston, Virginia. Carrie graduated from Independence High School in 1977 and The University of Akron in 1982. Carrie was married to Larry Fisher. She is survived by her daughter, Liliya Fisher, sons, Andre Fisher and Alexander Fisher, and sister, Nina Ito. [Official obituary from Adams-Green]

Dave and I first met Carrie and her husband Larry Fisher in 1989 when they moved in to a house down the street from us. We were excited to see a couple our age move into our block of mostly retired people. There was an instant connection when we wandered down to their yard sale and discovered they had pieces of audio gear for sale.

This is a story of people you meet, and how they sometimes have a lasting effect on you. You never know when a chance encounter will set off a series of events that lead you to where you are today.

In 1989 Dave and I were living in our first house in Long Beach, CA. Dave had a successful career as a teacher, and I was working for Xerox. We had an infant son, and life was pretty grand.


Dave and Carol Clark's audio system in 1989.

Our system consisted of Apogee Caliper Signatures, Adcom 555 amplifier, Adcom 555 preamplifier, Linn Axis turntable, and Kimber Kable. We didn't really have a lot of friends who shared our passion at the time, so it was really fun to find people who did. We became such good friends that we started a Thanksgiving tradition, Larry cooked the meal one year, and I cooked it the next year.


Larry and Carrie Fisher at Thanksgiving with Peter, Carol, and Dave Clark in 1989.

Even after we moved into our new house we kept up the friendship. Over meals like this we began tossing around the idea that it would be fun to start an audiophile society. We didn't want to call it the Los Angeles Audiophile Society because there was already a group with that name, so we finally decided on The Greater South Bay Audiophile Society. Here in southern California, the South Bay refers to the beach communities along the coast south of LAX. At the time, Carrie was working for a magazine about yachts, and she had a wealth of desktop publishing knowledge as well as some skills with graphic design. This was the logo she designed...


Logo for The Greater South Bay Audiophile Society, designed by Carrie Fisher.

The very first meeting of the society, in 1993, was held here at our house. We had a pretty good turnout, and we were encouraged to keep going. Carrie had the idea to start a newsletter, we called it The Earful. She taught Dave the ins and outs of Pagemaker (publishing software) so that when her own job was too demanding, Dave could step in to crank out the newsletter. It contained notes from the meetings, and some of us wrote our own columns. Mine was at first called "Carol's Corner," and then Carrie pointed out it was usually on the edge of the page, so she changed the title to "Carol on the Edge."

The GSBAS continued to grow. Stereophile agreed to run a small ad in the back of their magazine and we saw a dramatic growth in membership after that.  Some of our meetings were held at dealers, but mostly we counted on members to open their homes. One meeting that drew a lot of attention was when Albert Von Schweikert brought his then new VR4 loudspeakers to a member's home.

Eventually Dave, Larry, Carrie, and I ventured out to audio shows. Stereophile had a few here in Los Angeles, and they were kind enough to offer us a table at one of them. It was fun sharing our society with the public. We even had swag to give away, one of our members worked in the optical industry, and we had eyeglass cases emblazoned with our logo!

In 1995 the four of us went to CES in Las Vegas for the first time. It was a grand adventure, and a trifle overwhelming compared to the Stereophile show. We were able to attend as guests of Axiss Audio. I was amused reading my description of the show in my Earful column. I mentioned that people were so friendly, and that some of them spent a long time talking to Carrie and me.


Larry and Carrie Fisher at CES in 1995.

I don't remember exactly when Larry and Carrie moved to Virginia, but I think it might have been sometime in 1996. Of course, we were sad to see them go, but kept in touch as best we could. This was in the days before Facebook gave everyone easy access into each other's lives. In their absence, we continued with the GSBAS, but it lost some of its allure without our partners in crime.

The year 1998 brought about a lot of changes for us. I lost my job at Xerox and joined Dave at LAUSD. It was also the year we went into partnership with five other friends, all met through the GSBAS, to publish audioMusings, our print publication. The GSBAS continued without us until eventually Bob Levi became involved. Then it became the Los Angeles and Orange County Audiophile Society, they are celebrating 25 years this year, including the early days of the GSBAS.

We published fifteen issues of audioMusings. Eventually the tediousness of dealing with printers, and spending an hour at the post office when it came time to mail it out seemed overwhelming. In 2002 we formed our current partnership with David Robinson and Lila Ritsema here at Positive Feedback. Our two print publications merged to form this current online venture.

Through the years, we fell out of contact with Larry and Carrie, and though they were gone, they were never forgotten. So much of our beginnings in audio were tied to the two of them. Now, as we reflect back on things, we know that Carrie was at the center of so many great things. She was there at the very beginning of The Greater South Bay Audio Society. She was instrumental in creating our newsletter, The Earful, nurturing it into a nearly magazine length monthly publication. Carrie shared her knowledge of desktop publishing with Dave, allowing him to grow from helping with The Earful into publishing audioMusings, and that eventually led us to Positive Feedback. In essence, we made the journey into audiophilia together: Larry, Carrie, Dave, and me.

It is difficult to say goodbye, but she will always remain in our hearts. Much Love.