Cover photo for Joseph Forte's Obituary
Joseph Forte Profile Photo
1934 Joseph 2018

Joseph Forte

February 18, 1934 — February 14, 2018

Joseph (Jody) Edward Forte of Ronan Montana peacefully passed away on Wednesday February 14, 2018 at his home.

Born in Polson on February 18, 1934 to Joseph Benedict and Margaret Dempsey Forte, Joe (or Jody, as his friends and family called him) grew up in Ronan. He graduated from Ronan High School in 1952. He attended Carroll College and graduated in 1956 with a degree in Biology/Chemistry and minor in English. His childhood in Ronan was filled with days hunting, fishing, getting into mischief with his pals, and enjoying the beauty that surrounds this land.

In 1957 Joe joined the army and was stationed at the Dugaway Proving Ground in Utah. After being honorably discharged in 1959, he returned to Ronan, where he met his future wife, Harriet Jeanne Shanklin (Rolfe). They were married on August 13, 1959. An instant family was formed, as Harriet came with 4 children (Keath, Richard, Suzan and Sandi). The couple lived in Ronan until moving to Seattle in 1960, where their daughter Therese (Tess) was born in 1961.

Joe worked at Boeing from 1960 to 1970. He worked evenings and attended the UW by day to get a degree in pharmacology in 1970. Dad was especially happy he became a born-again Christian in 1977.

He worked for Thrifty Drug, Ray’s Rexall and Bartell’s in Seattle until 1999. He was president of the West Seattle Pharmacists Association in 1975. He continued to work, even part time, later in life (Mission Drug) and retired finally in 2014.

Joe was a bit of a renaissance man with a wide range of interests. He was a Black Belt in and taught judo at the local YMCA. He could play the sousaphone, guitar and piano -and a mean washboard. He wrote short stories and poetry. He loved riding his motorcycle and even built a kayak in the garage! Joe loved listening to music -especially jazz, blues, swing and gospel- and could belt out a pretty good version of “Bill Bailey” when prompted. His concern and love for others was evident in his many charitable works, whether it was stepping in to preach at church or bring a hot meal to a sick friend. And oh, how he loved his family, friends, and church. His commitment to them was evident in everything he did.

In 1994, Jeanne passed away suddenly and in 1999 Joe decided to return to his roots in Montana. While in Ronan he reconnected with Marilyn Tougas of Polson and they were married on July 29, 2000. Marilyn came with 5 grown children from a previous marriage. They made their home in Ronan until his death this past week. “You Light Up My Life” was sung at their wedding, as Marilyn brought love and light back into dad’s life, and one of his last acts was to make sure her Valentine’s Day card from him was ready for her on February 14 th . It was.

In his later years Joe spent time researching his native heritage. He was proud to be a member of the Sioux Standing Rock tribe, and to have roots in the Shoshone nation. He passed down stories of his ancestors, so his family would have these memories to cherish.

A loving father, son, stepfather, grand, great-grandfather and friend, Joe was blessed with an extensive family and network of friends whom he deeply cared for and loved.

Survivors include his wife Marilyn, Ronan; daughters Suzan (Russ), Sandi and Tess (Carl); son Keath (Connie). Pre-deceased by son Richard. Joe loved his step children Joe (Ginger), Jeff (Christie) Russ (Debbie),Twila (Bryan) and Susan (Peter) and many grand and great-grandchildren.

Whether it was a loved one, a stranger or a life long friend, Joe was beloved by everyone he met. His faith in God and compassion towards others guided him in life and gives us comfort in his passing.

In lieu of flowers: Mission Valley Senior Center or Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018, 1:00 PM at the Pablo Christian Church, Pablo.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph Forte, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

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