TAMPA — Edward Fishback lived on the strength of his judgment.
Realtors and developers relied on the self-employed property appraiser to make a fair and accurate call. So did his wife and eight children.
Mr. Fishback usually made it home for dinner, then continued his paperwork with one eye on the television. When the work could wait, he practiced the several musical instruments he played.
Mr. Fishback died Aug. 31, of kidney failure. He was 85.
"If you knew him, he was pretty serious and hardworking," said his son, Mike Fishback, who is a marriage and family therapist. "But at the same time he loved music. So there is kind of that dichotomy."
Mr. Fishback was born in Bloomington, Ind., and later lived in Indianapolis. He played the clarinet and saxophone growing up. He served in the Army during the Korean War, then earned a degree at Indiana University.
He hitchhiked out of town weekends to see Barbara White, a nursing student who eventually agreed to marry him. Without prompting, he grew interested in her Catholic faith and converted from his Protestant upbringing.
About 50 years ago, tired of cold weather, Mr. Fishback took his family to Tampa. He worked for other appraisers before starting his own firm in the early 1980s.
Mr. Fishback never compromised his judgment, his son said.
"In his kind of business, it's very easy to fudge the numbers and make more money for yourself," said Mike Fishback, 60. "He would never do that. For many years, we lived paycheck to paycheck. He'd rather work more hours and do more jobs."
He retired around age 70. After a lifetime of working seven-day weeks, he traveled more. He played with the Gulfport Senior Citizens Harmonica Club, performing the national anthem twice before Rays games and with the Florida Orchestra.
"When he played, there was not a missing note, and he would play at the right time," said harmonica group member Leo Perry.
He lavished attention on Lulu, a Shih Tzu mix.
Along with those enjoyments and a close family life, Mr. Fishback struggled with weak kidneys. Dialysis was making him "miserable," his son said.
He responded to those challenges as he always had: with calm calculation. "He was satisfied with his life," his son said. "He was satisfied with what he had done, and with his family."
Mr. Fishback ended dialysis in late August. He said goodbye to each family member, including the dog. He died 11 days after quitting dialysis.
Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.