If we talk about the father of nuclear fission, we have to make it the mother of nuclear fission. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_Noddack was the first to articulate the idea in 1934: “it is conceivable that the nucleus breaks up into several large fragments, which would of course be isotopes of known elements but would not be neighbors of the irradiated element”
If we shall thank someone that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrico_Fermi could escape from Italy it is Alfred Nobel. Thanks to the Nobel prize Fermi was able to get out of Italy with his family. And the rest is, as we say, history.
Fermi died 1954 at age 53 of stomach cancer in Chicago. I think that the reason was the sloppy safety regulations and that Fermi ingested alpha-emitters during lunch in the early days.
We should not do like the Nobel Prize Committee and forget http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lise_Meitner , she should have received the Nobel Prize together with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Hahn in 1945.