Thomas Fortney of the Bethlehem Community, died peacefully in his sleep Wednesday morning, in the room where he was born on the farm that has been in his family since 1790. His parents were Martha Jane Collins and Robert "Emmit" Fortney.
A newspaper journalist and publicist Tom had attended the one-room Bethlehem Elementary School and Masontown High with the exception of his senior year. He graduated from Fairview High School in Dayton, OH where he lived with his sister Arlene (Joseph) Guillozer. Other siblings were: Carl (Lela), Gerald (Louise), Dorothy Brown (Lester) Helen, Maxine Schnell (Ned) and Eleanor Davidson (Bob).
A proud U.S. Marine, Fortney served in both WWII (China) and the Korean Conflict. Additionally he wrote for The Globe the Marine newspaper.
Tom was father to four children (Paula (Jim Almassey), Greg, a twin to Mark (who died in 1981) and Marta) and step-father to another four (Bryan, Page (Holdgate), Blake and Brady Ross) and had five grandchildren (Peyton and Luke Ross and Harry, Gideon and Devon Holdgate) all of whom love and respect him as well as reflect his nature and wonderful sense of humor. After 50 years absence (Like most West Virginians) Tom and his wife, Peggy Ross, headed back to the family farm as soon as he retired in 1988, "the only place I ever felt at home," he said.
Cremation services are under the direction of Rotruck-Lobb Crematory in Kingwood. Graveside services will be held at a later date at the WV National Cemetery, Pruntytown.
Personal condolences may be offered to the family at www.rotruck-lobb.com.
WV National Cemetery
Route 2, Box 127