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John P. Fishwick, former N&W president, dead at 93

Aug 10, 2010

 

John P. "Jack" Fishwick, president of Norfolk and Western Railway from 1970 to 1981, died Aug. 9 at the age of 93.

Fishwick joined the Norfolk and Western law department in 1945 following Navy service in World War II. After holding various posts in the law department, he became senior vice president and was elected to the Norfolk and Western board in 1963. He was named chairman and chief executive officer of the Erie Lackawanna Railway in April 1968, and president of the Delaware & Hudson Railway later the same year. Both were affiliated with Norfolk and Western at the time. He became president and CEO of N&W in 1970.

In 1980, he opened talks with Southern Railway, which ultimately led to its consolidation with N&W and the formation of Norfolk Southern Corporation in 1982. He was a member of the NS board from its formation until retiring from the board in 1989. Fishwick was born in Roanoke and educated at Roanoke College and Harvard Law School.

"All of us in the Norfolk Southern family are saddened by Jack Fishwick's passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family," said NS CEO Wick Moorman. "He was a visionary leader and a prinicpal architect of today's Norfolk Southern. Our company would not have become the premier railroad it is today without his strong leadership and continuing wise counsel."

As the head of N&W, Fishwick advocated the promotion of women and minorities, and started a treatment program for employees with drinking problems long before such programs were in vogue.

He also was active in civic affairs, leaving his imprint on downtown Roanoke as one of the founders of Center in the Square. He also served as director of the chamber of commerce, the Roanoke Fine Arts Center and the Roanoke Symphony Society.

David R. Goode, who joined N&W in 1962 and served as NS chairman, president and CEO from 1992 to 2005, told the Roanoke Times, "I came to the railroad because I met Jack on a Saturday morning in his office, smoking a pipe and planning a railroad merger. That was typical of Jack. He was always thinking about strategy and how to make the right move to strengthen the company."