2013-05-09 / Obituaries

Melvin Leroy Fortner, 69, of Hazelton


Melvin Fortner Melvin Fortner Melvin Leroy Fortner, 69, Hazelton, passed away Saturday, April 27, 2013, at Sanford Health, Bismarck.

Melvin was born Sept. 13, 1943, to Theodore and Mable (Haadem) Fortner in Steele. He attended school in Dawson until the family moved to Anaconda, Mont., in 1957. Melvin attended junior high and high school in Anaconda.

He married Cathy Twiss on June 7, 1990 in Bismarck. Melvin spent many years in the construction business which he learned from his Uncle Benny Harter. He was superintendent for Sletten Construction and worked throughout the United States. Later in his career, he owned his own contracting businesses, Mel Fortner Construction and Badland Contractors.

Melvin loved people and in his semi-retirement he spent time doing odd construction jobs and owned Mel’s Diner in Hazelton. He later changed his diner business into a traveling chuck-wagon that he operated at many centennials, festivals and auctions throughout the state of North Dakota.

During the late summer and early fall months of the last four years, Melvin helped farmers in South Central North Dakota and North Central South Dakota eradicate the black bird population that plagued their sunflowers in his work for the USDA.

Melvin believed in being involved in your community and was active within the Hazelton community, serving as President of the Hazelton Park Board, Fire Chief of Hazelton Rural Fire Department, President of Hazelton Lions Club and most recently, President of the Hazelton City Commission.

Melvin is survived by his wife of 23 years, Cathy Fortner; four sons, Richard, Donald and Dennis Fortner and special friend, Chris, and Mike Fortner; three daughters and two sons-in-law, Wendy Sabot, Melva and Kevin Reinhardt and Michele and Randy Simon; grandchildren, Nichole (Brandyn) Brustad, Ashley Sabot, Greg Fortner and special friend Chelsey Parker, Samantha (Corey) Williams, Slade Hardesty, Kayla, Emily, CJ and Will Simon; great grandson, Dominic Williams; two brothers and one sister-in-law, Dennis Fortner and Roger and Mary Jo Fortner; two sisters, Mavis Fortner and Kathy Fortner, and sister-in-law, Cindy Fortner. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews and special friends, Richard Nicholson and Cliff and Muriel Nitschke.

Melvin was preceded in death by his parents, infant daughter, Sandy, grandson, Cody Sabot, infant sister, and brothers, Glen, Larry and Daryl “Butch” Fortner, and brother-in-law, Darryl Briese.

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 2, 2013, at Hazelton Community Center, Hazelton with the Rev. Thom Bowsher offi- ciating. Music was “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn, “How Great ThouArt,” “The Breath You Take” by George Strait, “Amazing Grace” and “Forever & Ever Amen.”

Casketbearers were Dean Weiss, Bruce Doolittle, Darwin Opp, Scott Baumiller, Jeremy Duckwitz and Paul Simon Kurtz.

Honorary casketbearers were all family and friends.

Interment was in the Dawson Cemetery, Dawson.

Please visit www.myersfh.com to sign the online guestbook and share memories of Melvin with his family.

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