Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thomas F. Fortner

Wellsville - Thomas F. Fortner of Ketchner Road, Wellsville, NY, passed away suddenly on Saturday August 8, 2009 while visiting family in Pennsylvania. He was born November 19, 1940 to Joseph and Rose Harrington Fortner. He married the former Joy Gath who predeceased him in 1996.

Tom graduated from Wellsville High School and was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving in the early 1960's. He was long time Wellsville businessman with Carpet Town Furniture and later CT Appliance. Tom and Joy were among the first organizers of the Great Wellsville Balloon Rally and Tom piloted the Carpet Town Balloon. He was a dedicated Buffalo Bills fan and will be remembered for his 20 plus years of hosting a super bowl party at his home. Tom was an avid outdoorsman who hunted much of North America and twice in Africa, and his favorite place to hunt was the beloved "3 H Camp". This was often a gathering place for many functions with family and friends. Tom loved the water ... fishing, boating and waterskiing and spent many years with Joy and their family at Rushford Lake and more recently with Gretchen and her family at Keuka Lake. Tom was a collector of John Wayne memorabilia and was a life member of the NRA as well as a staunch supporter of our second amendment. Tom's greatest love was for his children and grandchildren. He often travelled to be a part of their lives and excitedly looked forward to their visits to his home.

Survivors include: two daughters, Annamarie Phalen of East Aurora and Colleen (John) Groves of Lockport, son Kevin (Tara) Fortner of Littleton, NH.; six grandchildren, Meghan, Kierian and Keegan Phalen and Elizabeth, Thomas and Jakub Fortner; two brothers, Robert Fortner and Joseph (Mary Jo) Fortner; two sisters, Jeanne Zenger and twin Therese (Wayne) Gary; numerous nieces and nephews and dear friend Gretchen Childs.

In celebration of Tom's life, friends are invited to join the family starting at 6pm on Thursday August 13, 2009 followed by a service at 7pm at Shepherd of the Valley Church on Fassett Lane in Wellsville. Coffee and light refreshments will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Tom's name may be made to Jones Memorial Hospital, the American Heart Association or a local charity of the donor's choice.

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