American Jewish Leader Max Fisher Is Born in Pittsburgh
Max Fisher (left) talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem in 2001. (credit: Amos Ben Gershom, Israeli Government Press Office, CC BY-SA 3.0)

July 15, 1908

Ultimately one of the wealthiest men in the United States, Max Fisher was born in Pittsburgh to Russian Jewish immigrants.  Fisher spent most of his youth in Salem, Ohio, a small town located between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  After attending college at Ohio State University, Fisher moved to Detroit and entered his father’s oil business before starting his own company, Aurora Gasoline.  Under Fisher’s leadership, the company grew to be one of the largest independent oil companies in the country with nearly 700 gas stations.

Fisher was a generous philanthropist and following his retirement in 1963, he devoted almost all of his time to a variety of causes in the Jewish community and in his hometown of Detroit. An advisor to four U.S. Presidents, he made his first visit to Israel in 1954 and dedicated much of his life to the Jewish State, raising hundreds of millions of dollars through his work as a leader in nearly every Jewish organization in North America. As advisor to Richard Nixon, he helped to push through the arms airlift during the Yom Kippur War.  In 1975, after President Ford declared the need to reassess the U.S. -Israeli relationship, the president and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sought Fisher’s help in repairing the rift between Israel and the US.

In 1999, the Pincus Fund for Jewish Education in the Diaspora established the Max M. Fisher Prize for Jewish education, recognizing Fisher’s role in advancing Jewish education worldwide.

Fisher passed away in March 2005 at the age of 96.

Learn more about Max Fisher at the Max M. Fisher Archives: