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Lindsey Funeral Homes

473 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA

OBITUARY

Ben Fuller Fordney

February 13, 1931April 8, 2016

Ben Fuller Fordney, 85, passed away in Harrisonburg on Friday, April 8, 2016.

He was born on February 13, 1931 in Washington, DC. Ben attended school in Loudoun County and graduated from Loyola University of Chicago in 1953. He was the son of the late Colonel Chester Lawrence Fordney, USMC and Dorothy Nelson Fuller Fordney. He was the grandson of Major General Ben Hebard Fuller, 15th Commandant of the Marine Corps and Joseph Warren Fordney, Congressman from Saginaw, Michigan. Ben Fordney entered the Foreign Service of the US Information Agency in January 1955. His overseas assignments included duty in Hong Kong, Thailand, Nigeria, Dublin, Ireland, Ottawa, Canada and Nairobi, Kenya. He also served with the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. and he was Chief of Foreign Service Personnel with USIA. He was a press attaché in Saigon, Vietnam in 1965-1966, and was Field Operations Officer in Thailand, supervising USIS field posts during a period of communist insurgency in that country. He was awarded a Meritorious Honor Award by the Department of State for his public affairs program in Ireland in 1972. After retirement from the Foreign Service in 1981, he attempted a political career, running unsuccessfully for the Board of Supervisors in Loudoun County in 1987, for City Council in Harrisonburg and as a candidate for the House of Delegates from the 26th district in the Shenandoah Valley. He earned a master’s degree in history from James Madison University in 1987 and taught Western and American history at JMU and Blue Ridge Community College.

He was author of two books on Civil War General George Stoneman, a Union cavalry officer, as well as numerous magazine articles in Civil War publications. He was the Director of the Shenandoah Civil War Associates and co-host on the Civil War on the Air radio program, broadcast on WSVA in Harrisonburg. He was a board member of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Round Table.

His wife of 57 years, Betty Anne Martz Fordney, preceded him in death on August 19, 2011. She accompanied him on all of his overseas assignments and immeasurably helped him with his foreign service, teaching and writing careers.

He is survived by three sons, Christopher Randolph Fordney, Craig Warren Fordney and Jason Lee Fordney; three granddaughters, Kelly Jean Fordney, Katherine Nelson Fordney and Marielle Arwen Fordney; one great-grandchild, Ethan Hernandez; and his companion and caregiver, Shirley Anderson.

He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Karen Nelson Fordney, who died of illness in Saigon, Vietnam in 1965.

A Mass of Resurrection will be held at Noon on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church with Father Silvio Kaberia officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the memorial service.

Private interment will be at Lakeview Cemetery in Loudon County.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Sunnyside Presbyterian Retirement Community, c/o Fellowship Fund, 600 University Blvd., Suite L, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, in his memory.

Lindsey Funeral Home in Harrisonburg is handling arrangements and condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.lindseyharrisonburg.com.

Services

  • Visitation Wednesday, April 13, 2016
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Memories

Ben Fuller Fordney

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June 3, 2016

Thank you to Ceri Larson Danes for your remembrance of Mom and Dad (and all the Larsons). The Larson name was mentioned around our household as long as I can remember
.

Ceri Danes

May 23, 2016

Dear Kit, Craig and Jason -- From the time our moms were pregnant together in HK-- and the wonderful stories they told over the years -- to the last time I talked to Ben after Betty Anne passed, and now in his passing, the Fordneys have had a very special place in the hearts of the Larson girls and especially our parents. He was the best! I will always remember and miss them both. In sympathy, Ceri Larson Danes

April 18, 2016

Thank you very much, everybody, for your kind and thoughtful comments.
Jason Fordney

Kristen Shifflett

April 14, 2016

Thoughts and prayers are with your family through this difficult time. I miss Ben so much. He will always hold a special place in my heart.


Kristen Shifflett

Geoffrey Throckmorton

April 14, 2016

Kit, Craig,Jason,et al, he was a good guy and he had a good run. You guys hold each other up.
Geoff Throckmorton

David Evans

April 13, 2016

Ben and Betty Anne were our friends, people we will always remember for their warmth and engaging personalities. They were also fun people who brought many laughs. My wife Jody and I delighted in attending Ben's 80th birthday party when his sons enticed him up on the stage and gave him a guitar to play. I'll never forget the big smile he had "performing" with his boys. In the words of the ancient Hebrew prayer for the dead, "May his soul be forever bound up in the eternal bonds of life."

Mike and Violet Allain

April 12, 2016

Dear Shirley and Ben's Family,
Our sincerest sympathy to you all at this difficult time. Ben was a beautiful person in so many ways. His depth of intellect and gentle ways will be very much missed by many in our community.

Joanne White

April 11, 2016

Thoughts and prayers are with Ben's family and friends at this time.

Lesley Mack

April 11, 2016

Mr. Fordney was always a "book of knowledge" when it came to the Civil War. My husband and I enjoyed listening to and talking with Mr. Fordney at all the Civil War related events. We are sorry for your loss.

Linda Martz Schwartz

April 11, 2016

Uncle Ben was always so welcoming and personable on those too-few occasions when I had the chance to visit with him and Aunt Betty Anne. He was so intelligent and interesting - I always came away from a conversation with him feeling a little bit smarter. He will be missed terribly by all who knew and loved him. Someone once said that a person is never really gone as long as someone remembers him. Uncle Ben will be around for a very long time in all our happy memories of him.

FROM THE FAMILY