Alan Jon Fortney, writer, teacher, and Native American scholar, passed away peacefully on June 21, 2019 at home with his family at his side. Alan was born in November 1939 to Albin and Anita (Sodergren) Fortney as the second child of four.
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His father Albin served with distinction as a Major Chaplain in the US Army in WW II. His family was relocated by the Army to Schweinfurt, Germany and Vienna, Austria (1947-49).
Alan graduated from Stoughton High School, Wisconsin in 1957. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1963 with a degree in English. During his time as a student he lived in Copenhagen, Denmark where he learned fluent Danish and explored Germany, France, and Spain by folk singing and writing a newspaper column about his travels.
As a journalist, he worked at the City News Bureau of Chicago and then as an editor at the New York Times. He moved to Bennington to work as Director of Publications at Bennington College. He worked as editor for Hemming Motor News and then Vermont Summer Magazine (Bennington Banner) and taught journalism and Native American Philosophy at SVC, writing at CCV, and taught English at MAUHS until his retirement.
Once retired, Alan refocused on his devoted study of Native American history and philosophy. He was known among many local students for his tipi visits to schools. He published the book Go Light: Exploring the Tao of Native America while working tirelessly on multiple novels, a memoir, and plays.
Alan is survived by his wife of 45 years, Jill, daughter Rachael Fortney (CA), son Kendall Fortney (VT), brother Steven (Ruth) (WI), and sister, Anita (Bill) Harms (MI), in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews, and many friends.
There will be a private memorial service and burial. Donation in Alan’s name may be made to VNA-Hospice and the Bennington Rescue Squad. Cremation arrangements by E.P. Mahar and Son Funeral Home. For a complete obituary go to www.alanjonfortney.com.