The Columbia Falls community is mourning a young life lost after teen Paxton Fisher died from complications due to cancer.
Fisher was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a particularly aggressive form of cancer, on Feb. 2.
Over the past few months, Fisher, 18, went through a host of chemotherapy treatments at Kalispell Regional Medical Center for an inoperable tumor in his esophagus. He was a co-captain of the Columbia Falls soccer team and played in four different high school bands and was a talented musician.
Fisher died about noon on Tuesday, April 18.
The school canceled its tennis match Tuesday afternoon against Glacier High School, as students were distraught about the news.
“Paxton Fisher was the strongest kid I have ever coached,” Columbia Falls soccer coach O’Brien Byrd said Tuesday. “Psychologically, physically, spiritually. If anyone was ever going to beat this monster, it was going to be him. He will never die in my heart. They never die in the hearts they leave behind. Paxton Fisher leaves a legacy and an example of just how you live this life.”
Columbia Falls High School band director Josh Forke said Fisher was a special person. Fisher played in four of the high school bands — the Columbians jazz band, wind ensemble, percussion ensemble and pep band. He played both drums and trumpet and was always up for a challenge or a new piece of music.
“He was always the guy who said, ‘Let’s just do it,’” Forke recalled. “He was one of the spark plug members of the group. He would make things happen.”
Fisher also brought a sense of humor to the band room.
“He was a super fun loving guy who loved to joke around,” he said. “He balanced his faith and life together really well.”
Paxton is the son of Nikki and Joe Fisher.
Joe Fisher is an associate pastor at the Fellowship Church in Columbia Falls.
Columbia Falls Fellowship Church Pastor Doug Davidson watched Paxton grow up. He said Paxton loved to play the drums for the church service and was good at it — even at a young age.
“I just enjoyed his attitude and spirit,” he said. “Paxton was one of those kids who liked being at church and helping others.
“Kids loved hanging around and being around him.”
One of Paxton’s favorite places was the church’s Dickey Lake Bible Camp, where he first went as a youth and then, later, as a counselor.
“He was great with the kids,” Davidson said. “I was impressed by his maturity.”
The Columbia Falls community and the high school student body responded with great support when Fisher was diagnosed with cancer. A GiveForward campaign raised more than $13,000 for the Fisher family and the pep band sold T-shirts that said, “Play for Paxton” which became the rallying cry at school athletic events. The T-shirts raised an additional $4,800.
More recently, the local Subway was also raising funds for the family.
Services for Paxton are 4 p.m. Friday at the Canvas Church in Kalispell.