Norma "Lucile" Fortune
June 28, 1927 – November 18, 2020
Norma Lucile Fortune (née Smith), 93, of Ogdensburg, died early Wednesday morning, November 18 at United Helpers Rehabilitation and Senior Care, from complications of her 14 years with Alzheimer’s disease. Services will be held at a later date. Her ashes will be interred in North Hudson Cemetery.
Mrs. Fortune is survived by two daughters, The Rev. Jo Belser (Lenore Funkhouser) of Alexandria, Virginia; and Deb Fortune of Troy, New York; five sons, Gregory Fortune (Denise) of Acworth, Georgia; David Fortune of Ogdensburg; Stephen Fortune (Valerie Evaniak-Fortune) of Ogdensburg; Daniel Fortune of Akron, Ohio; and Douglas Fortune (Jennifer) of Ogdensburg; six grandchildren, Greg Fortune Jr., Joshua Fortune, Jennifer Fortune, Zeb Fortune, Seth Fortune, and Rheanne Fortune; and six great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, The Rev. Bernard Fortune, and all of her eight siblings.
Mrs. Fortune was born on June 28, 1927 in Birmingham, Alabama, the daughter of Nathan Nathaniel and Stella (Royal) Smith. She graduated Shades Cahaba High School in 1945 and attended Central Wesleyan College in Central, South Carolina (now Southern Wesleyan University). She transferred to Marion College in Marion, Indiana (now Indiana Wesleyan University) where she earned her A.B. in 1950. She married Bernard Fortune on June 2, 1951 in Marion. She then attended SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh, graduating from the latter in 1970 with an M.S. Ed. She completed extensive additional study at various institutions throughout her teaching career.
Mrs. Fortune taught second grade in Hague, NY from 1962–72, and taught at Morristown Central School from 1972–87, primarily as a third grade teacher. Her specialty was in Reading. Ever the Renaissance woman, she was more than proficient in many other endeavors. For years, she was a dedicated ham radio operator with the call letters KB2FTP. Tremors of disbelief amid smiles of satisfaction resonated through the Fortune household when she scored higher on her Morse Code exam than other members of her family.
Mrs. Fortune excelled at calligraphy, and her steady hand was responsible for many handsome award and graduation certificates in the Ogdensburg area and beyond. She honed her craft by writing out passages from the Bible early each morning, filling scores of notebooks.
In her early 50s, she began a long-lasting fitness streak which saw her climbing many of the Adirondack mountains—including three of the high peaks—often with her three youngest children or close friends. She began running and completed many races, marathons, and a triathlon. She was an avid walker and biker, particularly enjoying daily walks around Ogdensburg.
After seven years of dedication to the Kang Duk Won Karate Association (KDW), she earned the rank of 1st-degree Black Belt in 1988 when she was 61; for two more years she continued to teach and participate there. At the time of her “retirement” from KDW, she wrote that, “other than the Church, I am convinced that KDW provides the greatest opportunity for young people in the North Country to learn how to accept challenges and become stronger individuals both mentally and physically.”
After she took an early retirement from teaching in 1987, Mrs. Fortune’s passion for her family, particularly her grandchildren, remained her primary focus. She also volunteered for Meals on Wheels, delivering food to shut-ins and the elderly.
As much as she loved her family, her faith in God was the first priority—the very foundation—of her life. Her unflagging devotion, testimony, and spirit of perseverance were an inspiration to many people. Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the United Helpers at www.unitedhelpers.org/giving or 732 Ford St., Ogdensburg, NY 13669.
Condolences and fond memories may be shared with her family at www.foxandmurrayfuneralhome.com.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Norma "Lucile" Fortune
November 26, 2020
I remember, with fondness, appreciation and applause, aunt Lucile's enthusiasm, energy and bold adoption of activities that, at the time, seemed unconventional - climbing mountains, running marathons, hiking and now I read, judo! What a woman.
Our lives didn't cross often but when I see these photos of her, so much is familiar. The depth in her eyes, the wry smile, the resemblance to my own mother.
My love goes with you all as you say farewell and with it, the end of this part of the Smith era.
Mary Ellen Talarico
November 23, 2020
My parents neighbor for years! Great example of enjoying every minute of life! Lucille was a joy to behold!!
November 23, 2020
To Doug and the entire Fortune family -
So very sorry to learn of your loss - prayers for your family at this difficult time.
November 22, 2020
To the Fortune Family; Jo, Debbie, Greg, David, Steve, Dan, Doug, your spouses, and grandchildren. I extend my sincere condolences to each of you at the passing of your dear Mother & Grandmother, Lucile. Her passing, for her, is a release from the bondage of the horrible Alzheimer's disease that she was stricken with 14 years ago. She has now entered the pain-free Kingdom of God. Her vitality, her intellectual quests, and her physical challenges in her active life are wonderful memories of her. She & your Dad were good friends and supporters of our family, both to my parents and to me. Her image will remain with all of us who knew her and loved her. From experience, the loss of our Mother is a painful experience. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
Sincerely, Dick Fox
November 21, 2020
With heartfelt sympathy for your loss,
Judy Arquette Brassard
November 21, 2020
I have very fond memories of Mrs. Fortune while I was growing up attending the church in Brookdale. I clearly remember the day she came to our home to give me my first Bible. I was eight years old and I still have that Bible. There were days visiting the parsonage as she read and taught us as a group of small children a Bible lesson, plus cookies and refreshments. There were summers when Rev. and Mrs. Fortune took me with them, even though they had a car load of children of their own, to West Chazy Church Camp where I became a member of the Christian Crusaders. The memories and lessons I learned from her are wonderful and well kept deep within my heart. I will always be grateful for her influence on my young Christian life. Loving thoughts and prayers to all of her family.
Jane Hackett Backus
November 21, 2020
Dear Rev. Jo and the Fortune family,
Please accept my deepest sympathies at the passing of your mother. These are most difficult times under any circumstances but especially these most recent. Your mom had a full life and it’s my hope that remembering her best moments and special accomplishments bring you many more smiles than tears. You will be in my prayers.
Jane Hackett Backus 🥰
November 20, 2020
Lucile and I were close friends for many years. We were partners on many bike rides and walks, including climbing Adirondack high peaks together. We also kept up an on-going, cut-throat game of backgammon. I feel lucky to have enjoyed her companionship.
November 18, 2020
We are so sorry for your loss and we know your Mom is in a better place.
She will always be remembered for her love of the Lord and she was such a joy to be around always. God bless,
Pastor and Karen Wills, Seekonk, MA.