Betty Lee Fortner — O’Donnell Cookson Life Celebration Center


Betty Lee Fortner, 91, of Quincy, graduated home to meet her Savior at 11:00 am Sunday, July 7, 2024, at her home in Quincy, IL.

Betty Lee Fortner, a beacon of love and faith, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 7, 2024, at her home in Quincy, Illinois. Born on November 15, 1932, to Clyde and Elsie Moore Phillips, Betty was a cherished member of a large and loving family. She was the last surviving member of her immediate family, having been predeceased by her five sisters, Marg Laird, Dorothy Derhake, Darlene Reddick, Irma Martin, Carol Blake, and her six brothers, Robert, Russell, Ronnie, Leonard, Clyde, and Kenny Phillips.

Betty’s life was a testament to love, beginning with a chance encounter with Andrew Levi Fortner at Kresge’s Five and Dime store in Quincy, where Betty worked at the fountain. Their love blossomed, leading to their marriage on October 31, 1953, at Central Baptist Church in Quincy. Together, they shared 59 years of marriage until Andrew’s passing in 2012. Betty also faced the heartache of losing her son, John Fortner, in 2014, along with her beloved in-laws and many cherished relatives and friends.

Betty is survived by her four children, Rod Fortner (Joanne) of Peoria, IL, Suzanne Lockett (Mark) of Liberty, IL, Patty Littleton (Roger) of Quincy, and Jeff Fortner of Quincy; seven grandchildren, Jennifer Littleton of CO, Ryan Lockett of Quincy, Sara Farr of Michigan, Danielle White of Quincy, Melissa Cooke of Peoria, Andrea Fortner of Peoria, and Rebecca Harrach of Normal; and six great-grandchildren, Amaria Lockett, Nora White, Amelia Harrach, Isla White, Elluna Farr, and Alivia Vaughn.

Betty’s life was a living example of selflessness and faith. She had a remarkable gift for encouragement, often reaching out with phone calls, letters, and cards to uplift those around her. Her passion for the Bible was profound, with favorite verses from Isaiah 40:31-32 and Psalm 91:1-4 often on her lips. Even in her final days, she recited the Lord’s Prayer, leaving a legacy of prayer and devotion that inspired all who knew her.

A talented homemaker, Betty’s culinary skills were legendary within her family. Her fudge and fried chicken, complete with mashed potatoes and gravy, were staples of a childhood filled with warmth. Her cranberry salad and pies were the highlights of holiday meals, and her homemade dinner rolls, perfected since the age of 11, were a beloved treat. Betty’s vegetable soup, a daily labor of love, was always ready to welcome anyone who dropped by.

Beyond the kitchen, Betty enjoyed an active life filled with bowling, walking throughout Quincy, playing cards with family, tending to her garden, and fishing at the family camp by the river. These simple joys were shared generously with her family, creating a tapestry of memories that will be treasured forever.

The Fortner family will hold dear the memories of vacations at the camp, festive holiday gatherings, and the everyday moments of joy that Betty created. They praise God for the blessing of her life and the example she set for all who knew her. Betty Lee Fortner’s love and light will forever shine in the hearts of those she touched.

Friends and Family are invited to a visitation that will be Saturday, July 13, 2024, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at Columbus Road Baptist Church, 3601 Columbus Road, Quincy, IL. A Funeral Ceremony will directly follow at 11:00 am with Pastor Brian Hess officiating. Burial will follow at Greenmount Cemetery in Quincy, IL.

Pallbearers will be Troy Phillips, Andrew White, Roger Littleton, Mark Lockett, Ryan Lockett, Dennis Martin, Jeff Fortner, and Rod Fortner.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army.

Online condolences may be shared and video tribute may be viewed at

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