Many children know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. But young George Fish had the opposite experience. “Everything was interesting to me,” he explains. “If it were possible, I would have enjoyed working in a series of jobs, for example, pilot, lawyer, forest ranger, professor.” He found instead a singular calling, serving since 1988 as a Board-certified diagnostic radiologist with Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg (RAF).
Dr. Fish grew up in Asheville, NC, attended a Jesuit prep school in Massachusetts, and graduated in 1976 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in geography with a focus on urban geography. He briefly pursued several career paths, from urban planning to the airline industry to business consulting, before deciding on medicine. It was a career choice with family roots. His father was a cardiologist and his brother, an academic pulmonologist.
“I was bored and restless,” Dr. Fish says of those early years. “To decide what I really wanted to do with my life, I finally made a list of all the things that were important to me. The equation for happiness was this: I wanted to serve humanity, to be intellectually challenged, to provide for my family, and to be free to live wherever I wanted. Being a physician fit all those criteria.”
After graduating from the Medical College of Virginia in 1984, Dr. Fish completed his internship and radiology residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. The “wherever” part of his happiness equation turned out to be Fredericksburg, VA, familiar territory for his wife, Kathleen, a registered nurse who is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington. For 23 years, they have lived downtown in the same house, raising their daughter, Elizabeth, and building a lasting connection with the community.
The eighth physician to join the RAF group, which today numbers 35 physicians, Dr. Fish describes himself as a “generalist.” Since 2000, he has focused on women’s imaging. “I truly enjoy patient interaction,” he says. “It’s gratifying to explain imaging results, and the next steps, to those in my care.”
He currently shares his position at RAF with Dr. Donald Allen. Both plan to retire in July 2012.
The first item on Dr. Fish’s to-do list is travel. The couple own a second home in Sarasota, FL, and enjoy visiting their daughter, an aspiring sound designer, in California. They make frequent trips to Paris and currently are planning a stay in Australia and New Zealand.
Dr. Fish also plans to catch up on his non-medical reading, become involved in hands-on charity work, and spend more time biking and hiking with his wife. He may experiment with music lessons and devote greater attention to his oil painting. A wooden sailboat he built with friends will hopefully see more sailing time in the coming years.
Whatever the activity, he will pursue it with unbridled enthusiasm. “I am fortunate to have had such a rewarding career with the doctors and patients at RAF,” he says. “I look forward now to many new adventures.
Pictured above is Dr. Fish exploring his favorite city, Paris.