RISCO -- Royce Wendell Fortner, 63, of rural Risco, went to be with his Lord on July 30, 2008, at his home.
He was born Jan. 21, 1945, near Gideon, to Beulah Francoy (Robinson) Fortner of Risco and the late William Montrose Fortner. He courageously fought cancer for 11 months, never losing his spirit or faith.
Royce graduated from Risco High School in 1963. On Aug. 29, 1964, he was united in marriage to Alice Stobaugh. He attended both Southeast Missouri State University and Rolla. Following graduation with a degree in mechanical engineering, Royce was employed by Texas Instruments in Dallas. In 1973, the family returned to the Tallapoosa area, where he began his 35-year farming career. During these years, he received several farming awards, including the Missouri State Fair Farm Family Award in 1981 and the Outstanding Conservation Farmer Award in 1999.
In addition to farming, Royce was an active member, deacon and treasurer of Risco First Baptist Church, participating in choir and quartet activities. He was a long standing member of the Board of Directors at McCord Gin in Gideon and the Little River Drainage District. Because of his endearing smile and sparkling brown eyes, he was affectionally called "Smiley" by his friends.
Those left to treasure his many memories are his beloved wife Alice; daughter, Angie Miller, her husband, Robert, and grandsons, Toby, Tye and Trey of rural Risco; son, Mark Fortner, his wife, Sara, and grandchildren, Jacob and Molly of Tallapoosa; daughter, Betsty Mays, her husband, Bryan, and grandchildren, Nathan and Ashten of Poplar Bluff; his mother, Francoy Fortner of Risco; his brother, Bill Fortner of Risco; his sister, Mary Frances Shinall of Rogers, Ark.; and numerous extended family members and a host of friends.
Royce was a man who was strong in his faith and lived his life accordingly. His generosity and kind heart were an inspiration to his family and friends. He lived life with integrity and a positive outlook. Royce's hope was that through his witness in this battle with cancer, others might come to know Christ as their personal Savior and Lord of their lives.
Funeral services and a celebration of Royce's life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, at Risco First Baptist Church. The Rev. Gene Lancaster and the Rev. Lewis Scott will officiate.
Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery in Malden under the direction of Bradshaw Funeral Home in Malden.
The family would like to thank all the staff, doctors and nurses at Barnes Jewish West, Saint Francis Hospital and the employees of Visiting Nurses Association for their help, care, concern and support. The outpouring of love from friends has made us blessed.
The family appreciates your continued prayers and support and requests memorials or donations be sent to the Missions Program of the Risco First Baptist Church.