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Monday, July 10, 2023
6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)
Richard “Neal” Fortner, 66, of North Little Rock, passed away July 2, 2023.
Neal was born to David and Ruth Fortner on September 21, 1956, in Campbell, Missouri. Neal’s love of reading and sports began early in his life. He graduated from Cabot High School and took college classes at the University of Central Arkansas. His drive, determination, and brilliance were best demonstrated as he moved himself from oil rig worker to well-respected draftsman at a local engineering firm for over 35 years. He most enjoyed his involvement with Lakewood United Methodist Church, working in his workshop at home, and reading.
Neal is survived by his former wife, Laura Fortner, and their daughter, Ashley Griffin. Neal had one granddaughter, Ada Griffin, who always managed to bring a sparkle to his eyes and a smile to his face. His surviving siblings and their spouses include Helen and Ted Daniels, Darrell and Connie Fortner, Jerry and Terry Fortner, Dennis Fortner, Tom and Sharon Fortner, Martha and Larry Mobbs, and David and Rosemary Fortner, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents David and Ruth Fortner as well as his older brother Eugene Fortner.
Like a character from one of his favorite novels, Neal was a beautifully complex and multi-dimensional man. To his friends and granddaughter, he showed his playfully mischievous side. More recently, Neal’s playful spirit found a way to shine whenever he was around his granddaughter. He had quite a reputation at charades and, as he had done with his daughter, he made it to as many of Ada’s soccer games and performances as possible. His belly laugh was a reward all on its own.
During his working years, Neal engaged on the largest projects and his work ethic rarely wavered. Those closest to him at church knew how deeply he reflected on issues and events and how loving and open he was to a vast array of spiritual beliefs. He was able to connect best with the wisdom and legacy of the Indigenous tribes of America on family vacations to the West. The highlights of these trips, which were always around the 4th of July, were watching fireworks as a family in cities across America, getting a musical education on the long road trips, and Neal trying to save it all, with his camera.
As a dad, he was constant, present, and always delivered. He did everything he could to share what he learned with his daughter: from driving a stick shift, to the best education, a strong work ethic, and a love of travel and reading. Those closest to him had the privilege of getting to see all of his dimensions. Neal will be missed, because as much as he shared with us, his deepest wisdom was yet untouched. We love you Neal and look forward to our next chapters together.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to the United Methodist Committee on Relief or The Western National Parks Association https://wnpa.org/donate/.
Visitation will be from 6:00PM-8:00PM Monday, July 10, 2023, at Smith-North Little Rock Funeral Home (1921 Main Street). A celebration of life will be held at 10:00AM, Tuesday, July 11, 2023 at Lakewood United Methodist Church.