Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 08070160 (posted Jul. 1, 2008)"
by Jonathan Ginsburg
Stephen K. Fischel, AILA member and friend to us all, died Saturday, June 28, 2008, after collapsing two days before in the lobby of an AILA convention hotel in Vancouver, Canada. He was surrounded by friends to the end.
A dedicated and tenacious public servant for over 30 years with the Department of State, Mr. Fischel maintained an unrivaled standard of integrity, professionalism, and collegiality, though he was as tough on defense at State as he was in his revered game of hockey. Fischie (his preferred appellation) retired from government service as Chief of the Office of Legislation, Regulations, and Advisory Assistance with the Visa Office. A principal negotiator of NAFTA’s immigration provisions, the US-Mexico migration talks, and the Memorandum of Understanding between State and the Department of Homeland Security respecting visa policy under the Homeland Security Act, he displayed in these efforts, as everywhere in his public service and professional life, characteristic leadership, surpassing legal skill and knowledge, common sense, integrity, and abiding courage.
Fischie generously shared his knowledge and insight with AILA, both as a government official—he attended virtually every annual conference and a great many others as well—and, after retiring, as an active AILA member and dedicated contributor to AILF programs. Beyond his professional dedication lay his deep devotion to his parents, now deceased, his brother and his family, to MaryEllen Lannon, to his hockey teammates, and to his many, many friends, with whom he freely shared his passion for skiing, hockey, and the blues.
Let us raise a glass to our warm, funny, flirtatious friend, and remember him always, surrounded by us, holding forth, laughing uproariously, enjoying life, giving of himself. Goodbye, dear friend.