Fredric R. Fortney

Obituary
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Fortney, Fredric R. Died peacefully at home on August 29, 2013. Born August 30, 1933 to Alfred and Ruby Fortney of Viroqua, WI, Fred grew up on a dairy farm in a loving family who treasured their Norwegian heritage. He graduated from St. Olaf College in 1955 with a B.A. in English and Latin. Active in 4-H (www.4-h.org), an international youth organization focusing on four personal development areas: head, heart, hands, and health), he was honored to be an International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) to Norway. He learned Norwegian while staying with several host families, helping them with their farming duties. For decades after this pivotal experience, Fred stayed in touch with his host families as well as his Fortney (Forthun) relatives in Norway, such that he could still speak Norwegian 40 years later in an interview for the Norwegian newspapers. Fred was drafted into the Navy in 1956 and served three years, mainly in the Mediterranean. He then taught English and Latin at Wisconsin Dells High School for three years. He became advisor to the newspaper, which began his long association with writing and editing. He earned an M.A. in Latin from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1964. It was in Madison where he met Donna Ellefson, and they were married there in 1965. The newlyweds moved to Waukegan, Illinois, where their two daughters were born. Fred taught Latin and advised the newspaper at Lake Forest High School until 1969. Thereafter he did social work as a probation officer for Lake County until his retirement in 1996. His specialties were restitution, victim impact, foster care and adoptions. In 1975 he earned an M.A. in guidance and counseling from Roosevelt University. Fred was very involved with community affairs, especially if it concerned the poor and needy. He was on the boards of Family Service Agency of North Lake County, Christian Outreach of Lutherans (COOL), Exchange Club, St. James Lutheran Church Council, Lake County Community Concert Association (LCCCA), and annually participated in the local CROP walk (interfaith hunger education and fundraising events in the US, sponsored by Church World Service) for which he earned many Golden Sneaker awards. He sang with the Waukegan Swedish Glee Club (SGC) for 45 years; served as editor of the club's newsletter Keynotes for 19 years; was music committee chairman for 27 years; and as the historian, wrote and published the history of the SGC. In 1996 he was awarded the gold medal for service to the American Union of Swedish Singers (AUSS). Fred had a number of hobbies. True to his roots, he remained an avid farmer/gardener. He also enjoyed cross-country skiing, photography and travel. He valiantly struggled with Parkinson's disease for more than 21 years, having been diagnosed with PD in 1992. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Donna Ellefson Fortney; two daughters, Maren (Rob) Jenkins and Elise (Jose Marcio) Diaz; siblings, Thomas (Jane) Fortney, David (Julie) Fortney and Susanna (Peter) Walby; grandchildren, Giovanni and Sophia Diaz, and Michael, Juniper and Thora Jenkins; beloved cousins, nieces and nephews; and a multitude of friends. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Rush University Medical Center or St. James Lutheran Church. Rush University Medical Center, http://www.rush.edu, "Make a Gift Make a Difference," and on the Tribute Giving Form, under Gift Designation field, choose "Select a Specific Designation" and choose "Fred Fortney (Parkinson's disease research)" from the drop-down list. St. James Lutheran Church, Lake Forest (www.stjameslutheran.org), 1380 N. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest, IL 60045. Visitation will be held Friday, September 6th, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and the funeral is Saturday, September 7th at 11:00 a.m. at St. James Lutheran Church, 1380 N. Waukegan Rd., Lake Forest, IL.
Published in News Sun from Sept. 4 to Sept. 10, 2013
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