Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Gena Lynn Fischer, 61

| June 19, 2024 12:00 AM

Gena Lynn Fischer (formally Ritchie) was born on Oct. 23, 1962, on a US Air Force base in Germany. When she was just two years old, her parents Bette and Howard, in addition to her two brothers, Robbie and David, returned to the United States. Shortly after their return home, her brother Mike was born. They continued to move throughout her entire childhood, and on her eighth birthday, their family was complete with the birth of her little sister, Lori. 

Gena often shared stories of the haunted house she lived in in Texas, the time her and her siblings would sneak into old hangers and climb on tanks, and how her mom would throw shoes at the kids to keep them entertained while her dad was deployed. As somebody who lived everywhere, she had the unique opportunity to choose where "home" really was. For Gena, it was always in the mountains. Her favorite childhood memories consisted of her and her siblings running around the Redrock's of Wyoming while her dad, Howard, searched for arrowheads. And even though she always said that she grew up in Wyoming, she claimed Colorado as her home. 

She moved to Colorado in her early teens, where the Rocky Mountains stole her entire heart. As soon as she finished up her degree in journalism from University of Colorado Boulder, she planted her roots down in Aspen, Colorado. Her love for the outdoors brought her to a Warren Miller Ski Film, where she spotted a handsome man and asked for the time. That man, Lee Fischer, became her fiancé within a few short weeks, and was her best friend and her husband until the day she died. 

Lee and Gena created a beautiful life where they spent their days skiing, mountain biking, and hiking together. They built their dream home in the Crystal River Valley and started their family with their first daughter, Kailey. A few years later, they moved to Steamboat Springs, where their second daughter, Kassidy, was born. Their family was (and still is) unique, in the sense that they all shared a deep love for each other and the mountains. As a family, they created a lifetime of joyous memories in the outdoors together. Gena was a passionate, supportive, and loving mom. She showed up for her kids in every way that she possibly could and stood by their sides through the good times and bad. As her girls grew up, they moved away, but Gena’s closeness to her daughters did not subside. 

Kailey, her oldest daughter, married Eric Gillane in 2014. Gena loved Eric like her own son. Kailey and Eric brought three beautiful babies into the world, Wiley, Evie, and Fischer. Becoming a grandma "nana" quickly became Gena’s favorite thing. Her face lit up even at the thought of those sweet kids. She visited the Gillane family in California every chance that she could and was so proud to be their nana. 

Kassidy put her roots down in Montana. 

Throughout the years of visiting her in the Big Sky State, Lee and Gena set their retirement dream on Whitefish. In 2020, they packed up their lives and moved north. 

Gena and Lee found their own little slice of paradise on the Whitefish River. Some of the best memories as a family (grandchildren and all) are of lazy summer days playing in the water, and cozy Christmas nights snuggled up by the fire. Their home in Whitefish became an oasis, surrounded by the magic of the Montana Outdoors. Having always been an artist, her time in Whitefish allowed Gena to lean into her talents where she started her own business, and created hundreds of spunky, colorful, and vibrant art pieces. The art that she left behind is one of the many reminders of who she was, creative, loving, unique, and somebody who truly made the world a better place. Her family and friends will miss her every day, but will celebrate her in the sunsets, sunflowers, and the gentle feeling of sunshine on their shoulders. 

She is survived by her husband and best friend of 35 years Lee Fischer, her daughter Kassidy Fischer who is local, and her daughter Kailey Gillane and her husband Eric Gillane. She was the best Nana to her grandbabies Wiley Evie and Fischer Gillane, who live in Ventura, California. Her sister Lori and brothers, Mike and Robby, who all live in Colorado. 

She was preceded in death by her dad Howard, mom Bette and her brother David. 

Condolences may be submitted online on Gena’s tribute page at