Larry Fisher, Executive Director of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California, passed away Friday evening at the Loma Linda Medical Center following a brief battle with cancer. The National Hot Rod Association issued the following statement on his untimely passing.
“It is with heavy hearts that we report Larry Fisher, Executive Director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum, passed away last evening at Loma Linda Medical Center. Fisher began his work with the museum in 2012 and made a host of improvements during his tenure. NHRA, the NHRA Motorsports Museum and the entire racing community extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
“Larry made many contributions to the museum including building greater awareness of its mission and improving the educational elements of museum programs,” said Tom McKernan, chairman of the NHRA Motorsports Museum board. “His love and commitment for the museum and motorsports history as well as his robust experience will be greatly missed. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies are with his family during this difficult time.”
Fisher, who served in his role with the NHRA from 2012 until his passing, was an esteemed curator of various museum properties throughout his career, and his experience and unique vision for collections of history proved invaluable to the growth of the NHRA Motorsports Museum during his tenure.
A native of Pasadena, Fisher began his working life as a model maker and fabricator of large-scale, steam-powered railroads, including complete restorations of full-scale locomotives. He later moved to the high-performance auto industry, working as a contract designer and fabricator of custom hot rods and professional sportscar racing machines. Intriguingly, he spent six years working as a fabricator and project manager for Walt Disney Imagineering, where he led a develop team in creating environmental graphics for Disneyland’s “Toontown” and Muppet Studios.
In September of 2012, he joined the NHRA Motorsports Museum staff, where he was responsible for administrative operations, planning, and fundraising efforts for the museum located on the grounds of the LA County Fairplex complex. Fisher also led the management of the museum’s outreach and fundraising events, including the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Ky., the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., and the defunct NHRA New England Hot Rod Reunion in Epping, New Hampshire.
Fisher described himself by stating: “I bring an unbounded enthusiasm for the museum profession and the capacity to engage the visitor through stories and experiences that capture the imagination and spark the quest for new knowledge. My goal is to continue to focus my efforts on what I have found to be the most rewarding elements of my career, to utilize my diverse skills and life experience for the creation and operation of places that have the capacity to not only entertain and educate but to change people’s lives.”
Fisher was 59.