Bobby Fischer returns home, celebrates 60-year music career

Nashville songwriter honored in hometown with autobiography and new song


A common theme in country music is often when the hometown boy returns after achieving success and is welcomed home as a hero.

Bobby Fischer would probably deny he is a hero, but nonetheless, he has achieved much in the music industry during his 60-year career.

Wilton welcomed home one of its own this past week when Fischer, a well-known Nashville-based songwriter, returned to Iowa for a visit.

He was accompanied by his wife, Helen, and their two children, Robbi and Lori. When asked how he felt about his visit, he said, “As soon as I hit the city limits, I was home! There is nothing like that feeling.”

Fischer and his family arrived in Wilton on Wednesday morning, May 22, and immediately took a drive around town up and down the Wilton streets to see the sites of his youth.

Then it was on to the Wilton Public Library, where Fischer presented a copy of his newly published autobiography, ‘The Writing on the Wall.’

His sister, Dolly Neipert, was a long-time Wilton librarian, and the presentation was in part to honor her as well as their mother, who encouraged all the Fischer kids to go to the library. 

Bobby shared that his handwriting is terrible, but because of his mother’s encouragement, his reading and spelling abilities have always been solid.

Bobby and his family were greeted by an intimate group of library staff and family, including Dolly’s five daughters, Deborah Brenner, Susan Norton, Sandra Scott, Patricia Neipert, and Pamela Donna, and long-time family friend and retired assistant librarian, Anita Hartley.

Fischer presented his book to Wilton librarian Kristi Hager with the following inscription: “I give this book to the great Wilton Library, in honor of my sister Dolly, the town librarian, and my family, Mom, Pat, Lois, and Dick. We learned a lot from the library growing up. Also, I owe the town of Wilton and the friends we had the privilege to know. Tip of the hat to Anita Hartley.”

Fischer was encouraged by his daughter to write a book.

This all took shape during the pandemic by filling his time writing down the stories which would eventually become ‘The Writing on the Wall.’

The Fischers then attended an intimate family luncheon held at the Presbyterian Church, followed by a reception at the Candy Kitchen.

Fischer did not graduate from Wilton but would have been in the class of 1953, which was well represented during his reception with five of his classmates in attendance.

Fischer said of the event, “The Candy Kitchen was the place to be, and here it is today, the same as it ever was.”

When asked about one of his memories of the Candy Kitchen, Fischer said, “Well, I am not sure this is the best memory, but I was kicked out once because I used too much ketchup.” 

He went on to say that walking into the Candy Kitchen as a child and seeing all the candy was like something out of a movie, and “how could a kid resist all that? And don’t forget about the ICE CREAM!”

The reception was held from 3 to 5 pm, with around 75 in attendance. During the event, those gathered were entertained with the first public performance of the new song written and performed by Fischer, titled ‘The Candy Kitchen.’

Fischer recently wrote the song for Lynn and Brenda Ochiltree as a way to pay tribute to a place which was special to all the Fischer kids and continues to be an institution in Wilton.

Fischer was born in Wilton in 1935 to Walter and Vivian Fischer. His father died when he was two, so he and his four siblings were raised by their mother.

Fischer gives much credit for his love of music to his mom and her brothers, who played the harmonica and guitar.

Also, his father played piano, and Fischer often ran into people who knew his dad and would say, “Boy, could your dad play the piano!”

Fischer remembers taking piano lessons for 25 cents with his sister Dolly from Mrs. Holtzhauser in Wilton.

This early exposure to music stuck, and here we are 60-plus years later, paying tribute to his dedication to music.

Fischer has written over 2,000 songs and has worked with some of the finest co-writers and performers in Nashville, including Roy Clark, Reba McEntire, Conway Twitty, Charley Pride, and one of his heroes, Eddy Arnold.

Fischer attributes much of his success to loving what he does, saying, “As soon as I finish a song, I can’t wait to get it in front of people.” He goes on, “You get a lot of rejection, but you gotta stick to it and go on to the next person who might see something different in what you’ve written.”

All this said, his biggest fan and supporter is his wife, Helen, whom he married 64 years ago.

The Fischer family moved to Nashville in 1970, but prior to this move, he went on ahead to test the waters before moving the entire family.

After achieving some success, the family moved, and Fischer has said, “I was able to do all this because she [Helen] stuck with me.” His love for his wife is well evident, and he said of his career, “She is the reason!”

Fischer’s book will not be available for purchase by the public; however, copies of his new song ‘The Candy Kitchen’ are available for purchase at the Candy Kitchen, with proceeds going to benefit the Wilton Food Pantry and the Wilton Library.