"Cleve" Fisher was 12 years old the first time he played the organ and it was for a church full of people. He was, as he used to say, "scared stiff."

That was at Grace Methodist Church in Manassas, his hometown. And part of the problem may have been that he had never taken a lesson on the instrument.

The time came when he was so fond of organs that he even had one set up in a corner of the C. E. Fisher and Son hardware store, which his father had started and which "Cleve" ran for a number of years. Sixty-eight people, the gentlemen wearing black ties, crowded in among the nail kegs and point cans for a recital one snowy evening in 1958.

When he died of cancer at his Manassas home Wednesday, Cleveland Herman Fisher, 59, had no less than three organs, a spinet and several pianos in a studio next to his house.

Until illness forced him to retire last summer, he had been organist and choirmanster of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Anacostia, a position he had held since 1968. From 1955 until 1968, he had been organist and choirmaster at Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax.

In addition, he gave piano and organ lessons in the studio next to his home.

Mr. Fisher took his first piano lesson at age 7. He attended Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., but left to learn the printing trade at the Government Printing Office in Washington. Then he went home to take over the hardware store from his father. (The store was closed in 1960).

He continued his musical training by teaching himself. For many years he was an assistant organist at Grace Methodist Church and at Manassas Presbyterian before going to the Truro church.

Mr. Fisher was a member of the D.C. Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and of the Organ Historical Society.

There are no immediate survivors.