Joe Fortenberry

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Joe Fortenberry
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March 3, 1931 - September 24, 2019

Joe Fortenberry, 88, of Lubbock, went to be with His Lord and Savior Sept. 24. He was born March 3, 1931, in Plainview, Texas. He was the youngest of four children born to W.O. “Bill” Fortenberry, Sr., and Bonnie Hutchins Fortenberry. Soon after his birth, his family relocated to New Deal, Texas, then known as Monroe, Texas, in Lubbock County.

Joe grew up in a cotton family. His father owned the Fortenberry Gin in New Deal and was a leader in the national cotton industry. Joe worked alongside his father and his older brother, Billy, in their New Deal cotton fields and at the gin.

He attended New Deal schools, graduating in 1949. Joe then attended college at Texas Tech. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in May 1953. He and his childhood sweetheart, Carolyn Chick, married June 3, 1953, in Clovis, New Mexico. They set up their household in Lubbock and then settled in New Deal, where he farmed cotton.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves beginning in June 1953, in the 40th Special Infantry Company. Joe transferred to U.S. Army, where he was a Specialist 3 at the AARTC Fort Bliss Headquarters. He returned to civilian life after an Honorable Discharge.

He continued to farm. He and others joined with Sen. George Mahon in establishing the New Deal Water Supply. Joe served as president of the Water Board. He was a member of the New Deal School Board in the 1970s. In addition, he worked at the cotton classing office in Lubbock and later with the U.S. Census Bureau.

He joined the staff of Flowers, Etc., with Mickey Sharp, delivering flowers for many years.

Joe is survived by his wife, Carolyn; son, Chick, and his wife, Vivian, of Carthage, Texas; and daughter, Belinda Slack, and her husband, Joe, of Rotan, Texas. He also is survived by five grandchildren, Greg and Amy Fortenberry of Clovis, New Mexico; Edwin and Tasha Fortenberry of Carthage; April Slack of Rotan; Charlie and Jessica Slack of San Angelo, Texas; and Shailyn “Shorty” Kendrick-Dickerson of Rotan. He also is survived by great-grandchildren Brandy Jones of Carthage; Jacob Fortenberry of Clovis; James Fortenberry of Carthage; Austin Fortenberry of Clovis; Annabelle Fortenberry of Clovis; and Carlos Slack of San Angelo. He also is survived by special family friend, Frances Reyes.

He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Imogene Bowman and Betty Smith. He is survived by his older brother, W.O. “Billy” Fortenberry, Jr., of Lubbock.

West Texas Patriot Guard provided Military Honors. Entombment was at City of Lubbock Cemetery on Sept. 27.

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