DJ Fish, a Valley Favorite, Dies of COVID-19

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Steve Fish, the popular DJ, emcee and event personality best known throughout the Mahoning Valley as DJ Fish, has died of COVID-19.

The 40-year-old Youngstown native tested positive for the novel coronavirus on April 1. He was hospitalized three weeks ago and had been on a ventilator. He died May 13.

A graduate of Chaney High School who attended Youngstown State University, Fish was constantly in demand. He was a full-time DJ and event host who owned his own company, Modern Event Productions.

As a performer and a friend, he was known for his outsized personality and interest in people. 

“He was a wonderful brother,” says his sister, Amber Schrock. “He would do anything to make you laugh and be happy.”

Fish is being mourned by the hundreds of people who met him over the years. 

Brett Furrie, a friend and colleague of Fish, has set up a GoFundMe page and raised over $6,000 from more than 120 donors in a matter of hours. Many of the donors left solemn remembrances as well as humorous stories on the GoFundMe page.

“That’s not all of it,” says Furrie. “People have been sending donations directly to me and his sister. We’ve set up a bank account.”

The expenses will be used for the funeral, which will be private, and a memorial service for his many friends that will take place in the future, most likely the fall, Furrie says. A memorial fund is also planned.

“Steve would want to go out with a big shebang,” Schrock says.

Fish suffered renal failure when he was 21 and had a kidney transplant shortly thereafter, his sister says. The drugs he took to ensure his body did not reject the kidney diminished his immune system.

“He did good with the transplant and took very good care of his body,” Schrock says. “He and I would drive to Cleveland every six months [for a medical checkup].”

Furrie has owned several Austintown nightclubs over the years, including Shotz, Rumorz, Gossip and Privilege, and that was the beginning of his professional relationship and friendship with Fish. 

Fish started working with Furrie a dozen years ago at Rumorz. He also worked at many other nightclubs, including The Federal in  downtown Youngstown and The Viper Room, a bar he once owned on the West Side. 

Fish was also hired for countless weddings and other private events.

“He was more than a DJ,” Furrie says. “He was an emcee and he had a great voice.”

Fish also found work for dozens of other DJs through his company, and lent them equipment when they needed it. “He was always trying to help,” Furrie says.

But it was Fish’s ability to make celebrations special that stand out in many folks’ memories.

“He was amazing at events,” Furrie says. “Numerous people have been reaching out to me, saying they met him just once and were hooked. He wasn’t just a DJ. He was a face and a personality. He could read any room, any crowd, and make sure everyone fit in.

“For any show he played, he gave it his whole heart. People always remember that one song he did, or something he says at their wedding.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.