John G. Fortuna – 78 – of 105 North Church St., Hornell, NY died Monday morning (December 4, 2023) at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Hornell on May 9, 1945, he was the son of John J. & Seraphina (Carretto) Fortuna.
John grew up in Hornell during, as he always said, “in the best of times” with his posse of friends. He was a graduate of St. Ann’s School and later graduated from Hornell High School (class of 1963). While in high school, John was a proud member of the Hornell Red Raider baseball team.
He was employed for 19 years as a welder at Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation in Dansville and was affectionately known as the “Best Welder in the World!” While at Foster Wheeler, John served as President of the International Association of Machinists Union. He was later employed for about 20 years at Alstom Transportation Corporation in Hornell, starting as a welding technician and eventually working his way up to head of welding technicians and manager of manufacturing.
John was a member of Our Lady of the Valley Parish and a communicant of St. Ann’s Church. He was also a member of the G. Carducci Lodge Sons of Italy.
Without a doubt, John was the “best handyman” around. He loved to do household repairs and there wasn’t anything that he couldn’t build or fix. You name it — John could do it!! He always took great pride in his work!
An avid golfer, John enjoyed playing a round or two of golf with his friends in the Wednesday Travel League. However, golf wasn’t the highlight of the day, it was the many laughs, good times and camaraderie that he enjoyed the most.
John’s love of sports, especially the game of baseball, is what developed the strongest bond within his family. Baseball brought the entire family so much joy and happiness for many years but most all it brought PRIDE. He taught his sons the game and loved coaching them, but his true joy was watching them play. From Grasshoppers, to the professional level, and everything in between John took tremendous pride in his son’s accomplishments. For many years, John served as a baseball coach in the American Legion Baseball League, teaching baseball to the young men in the Hornell and the surrounding area. “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too!!”—Yogi Berra
He was an avid Baltimore Oriole fan (MLB) and a huge Green Bay Packers fan (NFL) for over 50 years. His love of sports defined his life and the only thing more important and precious to him was his family — especially his children.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John & Seraphina Fortuna, both of whom were Italian immigrants arriving to the United States by boat through Ellis Island. He was also preceded in death by his brother, Gaeton, who died at 3 months of age.
John was married to the former Mary Milford who survives. Also surviving are his daughter, Patricia “Patti” (Richard) Clancy of Hornell; his sons, Michael Fortuna of Hornell and Donald (Renae) Fortuna of Hornell; his step-son, James (Katie) Mazza of Nunda; his sister, Lucy Booth of Eden Prairie, MN; his grandchildren, Patrick (Joan) Clancy of Hornell, Natalie and Adrianna Fortuna of Hornell; step-grandson, Jamier Scott Mazza; step granddaughter Jaiden Bently; his niece, nephew, aunt and several cousins.
At John’s request there will be no calling hours. Family & friends are invited to a Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 AM Thursday, December 14, 2023 at St. Ann’s Church. Immediately following the Mass, please join us to celebrate John’s life at the Hornell Golf Club. Private graveside services will be held at St. Mary’s Cemetery at the convenience of the family.
John’s family request that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name be made to “Smile Train Fund”, PO Box 96208, Washington, DC 20090-6208. Memorial forms will be available at the Dagon Funeral Home.
A Special Heartfelt “Thank-You” from John’s family goes out to Lena and Loving Home Care (especially Heather Flaitz) along with all of their staff who helped provide such loving care for John during his illness.
To leave online condolences, visit DagonFuneralHome.com.