The Rev. John Fortier (1934-2020)

The Rev. John Fortier (Class of 1960, The Presbyterian College)

Peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of Saturday, December 05, 2020, John Fortier, husband and father to this family, passed through into the glory that awaits all the saints of the Lord.

Born David John Philias Fortier on Mother’s day Sunday, May 13, 1934 to Gerald Paul Romeo (GPR) Fortier and Blanche Victoria Smithers in a little farmhouse somewhere in LaPrairie, Quebec, John came by train in his mother’s lap to Melbourne, Que., where GPR had begun helping his father Philias with his dairy farm at the top of what is now Fortier Road.

John came to personal faith in Jesus at the age of 16, and chose to pursue ministry in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, studying for his B.A. at Sir George Williams College (McGill) in Montreal, and then at Presbyterian College, finishing in 1960. His ordination in Melbourne, Quebec, was the first bilingual ordination ceremony in the history of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. His first pastorate was in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, where he met and married a fiery redhead, Shirley Marie MacKay, of Riverview in 1961. Rev. John and Shirley Fortier went on to minister with the Presbyterian Church in the communities of Lancaster, Ontario, where Andrew John (1965) and Shelley Anne (1967) were born, and Tiverton Ontario, where Gregory Gerald was born (1971). They moved in 1975 to Prince Edward Island, and served in the Richmond Bay Charge, based in Tyne Valley and later relocated to Summerside. After moving on from pastoral ministry, John worked with the Bible Book House in Charlottetown, and then with the Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs, while Shirley went on to serve the church in ministry in Freetown. Happily retired to Riverview/Port Howe, John loved singing with the Oxford and Area Men’s Club and occasionally performed pastoral duties, while Shirley played the organ and regularly served as pulpit supply. They had just celebrated their 59thwedding anniversary in August.

Those who knew him, knew his love for the Lord and His word, and his service to the Kingdom of God (and his family!) in prayer will only be known in full on the other side. He had many life verses, but one in particular stands out: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5). He was steadfast in faith in his God all during the time of his illness, and admonished us with this verse regularly.

John loved nature, especially the woods: walking in it, caring for it and creating and building with it. He was always up for a new challenge as evidenced by his taking flying lessons in his 50’s and trying kayaking for the first time at 85. John had a special heart for children of all ages and they seemed to be naturally drawn to him, sensing a kindred childlike spirit within him.

John was predeceased by his youngest brother Paul (Judy), and sister Estelle (George) Blouin. He is survived by two brothers: David (Ellie) in Alberta, and Raymond (Lynne) in Melbourne, along with several generations of Fortier (and Blouin!) descendants. He was fond of all his family, and very proud of his heritage, having spent years compiling a genealogy for our family.

Remaining here are his wife Shirley, his son Andrew (wife Diane and son Jonathan), daughter Shelley Duesbury (husband Andrew, children Hannah and Daniel), and son Greg (wife Stephanie, daughter Eliana and precious foster child Valkyrie). There are cousins, nieces and nephews, and their progeny near and far, not to mention quite a few “adoptees” into the family, who are all precious to them.

John and Shirley have been blessed abundantly by the people of God from every church tradition, and we wish to express our deep gratitude to all their friends and neighbours. Thanks also to the VON nurses, homecare, the palliative care team and Dr. Peter Blaikie who cared for our family during John’s illness.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of W. Allen Funeral Home, 60 Water Street, Oxford, NS (902-447-2167) from where a time of visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 from 5-8 pm. A funeral service will be held on Thursday at 2 pm at the St. James Presbyterian Church in Oxford. All are welcome to attend, however due to current restrictions, pre-registration is required. Please email or call the funeral home to register. Please bring your mask and respect social distance guidelines.

At the request of the family, in lieu of flowers, donations in memory of John may be made to St. James Presbyterian Church, Oxford, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Riverview, NS or a charity of the donor’s choice

Sharing of memories and condolences may be sent to John’s family by visiting his online memorial at or through the W. Allen Funeral Home Facebook Page.

— The above obituary is from the website of The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

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