Jack Don Fortenberry
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FORTENBERRY, Jack Don, 83, of San Antonio, FL, entered into eternal rest on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. He was born in Pampa, Texas to Dewey and Johnnie Fortenberry, his family moved around many parts of Texas before settling in the town of Commerce, Texas where Jack went to high school, played football, and was an integral part of the Commerce community.
Survived by his loving wife of 23 years, LaNita Fortenberry; son Joel R. Fortenberry (Shannon) of Summerville, South Carolina, grandchildren, Emma Fortenberry and Tyler Fortenberry; daughter Amy Taylor of Chapin, South Carolina and grandchildren, Creighton Taylor, Mattie Taylor, and Culley Taylor; sister Joyce Paro of Tyler, Texas; and nieces and nephews all of Texas.
He joined in Heaven, his parents, brother, James Fortenberry and son, Jason Ray Fortenberry.
Military career: US Navy 1958-1962, Hospital Corps, Surgical Technician. After honorable discharge from the Navy, Jack attended the Texas Eastern School of Nursing's three-year diploma program. It is well known in the nursing community that the diploma program of those days produced the finest and most skilled nurses. That couldn't be more reflective in Jack's nursing career. After nursing school, Jack commissioned in the US Army (1968-1971) and served his country in Qui Nhon, Vietnam (1969-1970) with the Operating Room Army Nurse Corps, 67th Evacuation Hospital, caring for the "walking and wounded". When he was not caring for US soldiers, he provided medical mission care to orphaned Vietnamese children with the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity. First Lieutenant Jack D. Fortenberry was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his outstanding meritorious service in connection with military operations against a hostile force.
After military service, Jack settled in South Carolina beginning his civilian nursing career, and meeting his lifelong best friends Reed Finney and Don Coyner. The three ended up in Florida together, Jack and Reed working for Tampa General Hospital's Regional Transplant Center. It wasn't long after that in which Jack along with just six others were the first to work for the newly established Florida West Coast Organ Procurement Foundation which is now widely known as LifeLink?. Jack is accredited as one of the founding fathers in the history of the program, setting the bar for a generation of transplant coordinators, and is the very first in West Florida to recover bone tissue from a donor patient. Now LifeLink? has the largest tissue bank serving about 50,000 patients per year and more than 1.5 million since Jack's first tissue recovery. Jack was also the first guest lecturer at the USF School of Nursing to share the message on organ donation and how to be empathetic with families facing such tragedy. His lecture paved the way to include this topic in the nursing curriculum.
Jack retired from his operating room career from East Pasco Medical Center in Zephyrhills, Florida. In retirement he enjoyed traveling, mowing his pasture, his dogs, duck and turkey hunts, SEC football, classic movies, good music, good friends, and a good debate; the longest running debate was with his wife over who made who a better person. You win, my Love!
The family asks that, In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc @ www.guidedogs.org