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Former stenographer and one of the first women in the FBI recalls her mission during World War 2

Posted: 11:38 PM, Oct 11, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-11 23:38:30-04

She was among the first women to work for the FBI, breaking down barriers for generations to come. Her story, includes helping track down Nazi spies during WWII.

At 94-years-old, Jean Fisher still carries a laugh and a smile that light up a room.

"Most people that went to work for the FBI were pretty moral people" says Fisher.

She recalls being recruited soon after high school to work in Washington D.C. Her pay was $1,400 a year without overtime.

She says, "You took reports and you typed them, and for the bureau they had to be accurate. You could not make a mistake."

Some weeks, she was working in the same building as the first FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

In 1941, the safety of the American people was the top priority of the FBI.

Fisher recalls. "First we were attacked. I remember being in a taxi and heading to a movie. Wherever we were, we went straight to work."

The hours were long and the cases were crucial to our national security.

"We worked days. Afternoons. Nights. You would go home so tired, because I was a hard worker, I guess. Too tired to eat your supper. Just lay on the bed and go to sleep" says Fisher. "Everyone got worried about spies, so we got a lot of information from people. Plain people like you and I."

Fisher returned to Detroit after 2 years in Washington to be closer to home and start a family. Her job transfer to the Detroit Field Office was a dream come true.

"The difference for me was that the field office was home. Washington was kind of scary and kind of expensive," says Fisher.

Today, she tells new FBI employees, "Stick with the FBI. Keep your head up high. Be a moral person and you'll do all right."

Her words are also inspirational to David Gelios, the current Special Agent in Charge in Detroit.

"There are literally scores of roles in the FBI today for women. Intelligence analysts, evidence technicians, photographers. I can see a day when a woman is our deputy director, or even Director" says Gelios.

Jean now lives with family in Macomb County. Her children and grandchildren are extremely proud of everything she's accomplished.