Fern Virginia Tisher Fuller Dermond, 88 years young, received a calling on Oct. 4, 2018, that she could not decline. With grace and dignity, Fern accepted the position, which came with the added bonus of a joyful reunion with friends and family: her husband, Richard (Dick) Dermond, and parents, Fay and Florence Tisher, as well as numerous aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, a granddaughter and a great-grandson.
Fern was initially welcomed by Fay, Florence and older sister, Fayetta, on March 30, 1930, in Marshall County, Britton, South Dakota. She arrived singing, and music became her touchstone throughout life. She learned to yodel listening to country western singers on the family’s phonograph, played the trumpet as her father had before her, and sang soloist in elementary and high school programs while living in Kalispell and later in Libby, where the family moved after leaving the drought-filled fields of South Dakota.
Fayetta recalls moving by “open truck” from South Dakota during the depression to join Florence’s extended family in Kalispell. On the long journey, Fern and Fayetta repeatedly asked fellow travelers, “Is that a mountain?” When Fern finally saw the mountains of Montana, she knew she was “home.” And, the mountains of Warland became alive with her singing while she played “stick horses” with her cousins and played with her beloved dog, Sally.
While still in high school, she met Norman (Dobie) Fuller, and upon her graduation, they were married. Together they had seven children, all of whom survive her: William (Carol), Norman Richard (Janene), Wendy, Wyonne (Joe), Tracy (Pam), Terry and Jared (Jaclyn).
After a divorce, Fern moved to Olympia, Washington, and found love with Dick Dermond.
Fern, Dick and several friends began the Bluegrass Festival in Thurston County, and collectively sang at events and fairs throughout the Pacific Northwest until Fern retired as a legal secretary from Washington State Department of Transportation.
Upon her retirement in 1992, Fern and Dick returned to the mountains of Fern’s childhood. As well as singing, Fern participated and was active in worship and “doings” sponsored by the Libby Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the building she, her parents, fellow parishioners and Libby residents literally built.
Upon Dick’s death in 2005, Fern began traveling with her children. A favorite site was Taos, New Mexico, where Fern discovered others who shared her love of music as well as new favorite songs, one of which by she wanted to be remembered, “When It’s My Time,” by Chipper Thompson. “…When I can’t fight no more and I’ve done all I can; when I’m sure that it’s my time, I’ll lay down like a (wo)man.” On Oct. 4, 2018, at 10:30 a.m., Fern determined she had done all that she could do, and surrounded by loved ones, she lay down.
Fern is survived by her seven children, 30 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren, her sister, Fayetta Johnson (Daren), and nieces and nephews.
Fern’s family and friends want her to know she was and is loved. We wish her a safe journey and great happiness as she reconnects with loved ones on her new adventure. We invite you to join in a celebration of Fern’s life on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2056 Highway 2, Libby, MT 59923.
In Fern’s later years, she positively impacted lives as a volunteer coordinator and mentor through North Counties’ Family Services, Darrington, WA 98241. Thus, in lieu of flowers, please consider donations to a favorite charity.