Miriam "Mimi" Fishman, mother of Phish drummer Jon Fishman and a beloved figure to fans of the band, died Tuesday at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York. She was 64.
A fan of her son's group, she joined Phish onstage eight times in their 17-year career (giving Jon a run for his money playing the Electrolux vacuum cleaner), and she could often be found in the audience sharing in the groove.
"It seems like one big family when I meet the fans," she said in an interview for the December 1998 issue of Jambands.com. "They always want me to stay and dance with them during the show." Her openness and positivity made Mimi Fishman more than the mother of a musician to fans; it made her a member of the community and a friend to humanity.
Having suffered from glaucoma since her teens, she began the Mimi Fishman Foundation to raise money to research the disease. The foundation benefits the American Glaucoma Society, the Boulder County Safehouse and YMCA's Partners Program by sponsoring online auctions at Jambands.com, among other money-raising projects.
The kind of woman who would turn her own birthday celebration into an event that helped others, she involved other bands in the jam scene including moe., String Cheese Incident, Ominous Seapods, Aquarium Rescue Unit and Widespread Panic in her charity work, as well.
Mimi Fishman is survived by her husband, Leonard; her two sons, Jon and David; and her daughter, Julie Trawinski. Contributions in her memory should be made to The Mimi Fishman Foundation, in care of David Shulman, 12685 Dorsett Road No. 264, Maryland Heights, MO 63043.