On Sunday morning, June 22, 2014, our mother at the age of 83 passed away in her home, where she lived for over 60 years. Shirley Mae (Dummer) Fortner was escorted by angels into heaven, where she was not only met by Jesus, but also the many loved ones gone on before her, whom she has missed very much.
She was born Aug. 1, 1930, to Leonard and Genevieve Dummer. She had one brother, Douglas (Jackie), who passed away at an early age, and whom she loved very much. She married LaVerne Fortner in 1948.
They had eight children, four girls and then four wonderful boys. She was very busy with cloth diapers and an old ringer washing machine. She led a simple life and liked being a mom. Even when we were naughty, we could usually make her laugh mid-spankings! Our Ma, or “Grandma Tootie”, as she was known by everyone, was a homemaker, a nester. Being a mother is a gift from God. We had fun growing up; Ma would twirl her baton or tap dance to “School Days” to entertain us, and read us many books. She was a majorette in her high school band, and also liked drama class. She loved to dance, rollerskate, play the games “Bunco” and “Don`t Get Mad”, read and spend time with her family.
She also liked to write poetry; one of our favorites is “Robin Redbreast”. She liked the Bee Gees, Franki Valli and the musical “Phantom of the Opera”. She liked thunderstorms and rain. When she was young, she would sit in her grandpa`s car and read during a storm. She liked watching birds outside the window; cardinals were her favorite. Our Ma had a hard life, without any of the modern conveniences of the day, but when a friend was hungry or needed a place to stay, they were always welcome… and there were many.
We all caused her worry, and maybe a few gray hairs, but she still laughed and danced and sang with us. Our Ma hosted most all the holiday parties at her home, lots of people and noise, but she enjoyed having all of us there. The grandkids and great-grandkids all liked going to Grandma Tootie`s. That`s where all the excitement was. She had enough energy to help with watching all the grandkids at one time or another. She was a young mom, a young grandma and always young at heart! She was known for her sugar cookies and divinity candy at Christmas, and chocolate fudge, popcorn and kool-aid, and water fights during the summer. “The daily duties of a mother are basically the constant performance of the corporal work of mercy.”
Nothing will ever be the same again. Our house is empty without our Ma. We will miss her very, very much, but we know she is now in the loving, caring arms of God. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” — Romans 8:18. We love you, Ma!
She is survived by her children, Barbara Himli, Vicky Ruegg, Jacquelyn (John) Fuchsel, Patty (Bruce) Pettit, Douglas (Shelley) Fortner and Anthony Fortner; grandchildren, Brian Breuig, Travis (Amy) Fortner, Christopher (Stephanie) Fuchsel, Heather Himli, Joshua (Carrie) Pettit, Anneliese (Tony) Skoda, Aaron (Meredith) Carraux, Marissa Himli, Hannah, Rachel and Dougie Fritz, Henry Ruegg and Samuel and Ana Fortner; and 17 great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by her husband, LaVerne; and sons, David and Jeffrey.
Services will be 1 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at First Ev. Lutheran Church, La Crosse, with visitation one hour prior.
In lieu of sending our mom flowers, if you still have your mom, send her some.