Dennis E. Fortune, 69, of Geneseo, died after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, at Hammond-Henry Hospital Long Term Care, Geneseo. A funeral service celebrating his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 26 at Vandemore Funeral Homes Ltd., Geneseo. A visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25 at the funeral home. Cremation rites will be accorded following the service and private inurnment will be held at Oakwood Cemetery, Geneseo. Memorials may be made to the Dennis Fortune Memorial Fund.
He was born on Nov. 29, 1943, Geneseo, the son of Gaylord and Katherine (Deal) Fortune. He graduated from Geneseo High School in 1962 and then later from Western Illinois University where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He married Donna E. Ellsworth on Jan. 16, 1965, in Kahoka, Mo. Dennis’s Marine service was cut short due to a football injury. Dennis began his teaching career at Annawan High School where he taught for one year. He then went to Erie High School where he taught art and world history as well as coaching track, wrestling and football for 34 years, retiring in 2002.
Dennis attended the Heritage Wesleyan Church. He proudly earned Eagle Scout status in the Boy Scouts. He also was a member of the NRA (National Rifle Association), Ducks Unlimited, Geneseo Moose Lodge, Illinois Arabian Horse Association, and the Quad City Arabian Horse Club which he was a past president and the current treasurer. He served on the Geneseo City Council for several terms. He also founded the Maple City Cruisers Car Club.
Dennis loved God, his guns, his old cars, his motorcycles and fishing. He was a staunch conservative and a Rush Limbaugh and John Hagee fan. He was an avid sports fan of football and wrestling. Dennis loved Donna. He loved accompanying Donna to her horse shows and cheering her on to victory. He loved his daughter, grandchildren and family; and was ALWAYS there for them.
Survivors include his wife, Donna; daughter, Christine (Lee) Eastburn of Glendive, Mont.; grandchildren, Stephanie Fortune, Jacob Eastburn, Kim Eastburn, Katelyn Eastburn and Katherine Fortune; brother, John (Nancy) Fortune of Decatur, Ala.; two sisters, Gloria Jean (Charles) Dilenbeck of Geneseo and Marlene Gray of Green Valley, Ariz. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Carol Bowman and his brother, Raymond Fortune.