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Norman "Bud" J. Fortier

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Gilford-----Norman “Bud” J. Fortier, 83, of 320 Old Lakeshore Road, died at his home on Sunday, November 20, 2005.

Mr. Fortier was born May 30, 1922 in Pelham, NH, the son of John J. and Marion D (Bedard) Fortier. Mr. Fortier attended elementary and high schools in Nashua and graduated from Nashua High School. He entered St. Anselm College, Goffstown, NH in 1939. In Jan, 1942, he left college to join the Army Air Corps.

He graduated from flight training and was commissioned 2nd Lt. in Jan., 1943. He was assigned to the 355th Fighter Group and went overseas (England) in July, 1943.

Mr. Fortier flew 113 combat sorties, 460 combat hours, in P-47 and P-51 aircraft. He was credited with the destruction of 5.83 German aircraft in the air, and 7 on the ground--strafing. He commanded the 354th Fighter Squadron with rank of Major in 1945. He left the service in Feb., 1946 and enrolled at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH. In 1947, he graduated with a B.Sc. degree.

Mr. Fortier flew with non-scheduled airlines-Meteor Air Transport, Teterboro, N.J. and Airline Transport Carriers, Burbank, CA and with Northwest Orient Airlines, Minneapolis, MN during the period of September, 1947 to December, 1948. Mr. Fortier was recalled to active duty in December, 1948 for the Berlin Airlift. He was assigned to the 317th Troop Carrier Group at Celle RAF Station Germany and flew 38 missions on the Berlin Airlift from February to July, 1949. His other military assignments included: Operations Officer at Squadron, Group, and Wing level in the 86th and 31st Fighter Wings; three years in the Directorate of Requirements at Hq USAF in Washington, DC; three years with the MAAG (Military Assistance Advisory Group, in the Hague, Netherlands and Commander of the 100th Organizational Maintenance Squadron at Pease Air Force Base. Mr. Fortier was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross four times, the Air Medal fifteen times, the Medal for Humane Action – for Berlin Airlift Duty, and the Croix de Guerre avec Etoile d’Argent-France. He retired from the United States Air Force at the end of 1964 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and the rating of Command Pilot. From September, 1965 to June, 1972, Mr. Fortier was Principal of Epsom Center School, Epsom, NH and taught at the Horne St. School in Dover, NH from September, 1972 to June, 1991.

Mr. Fortier was author of, AN ACE OF THE EIGHTH, AN AMERICAN FIGHTER PILOT’S AIR WAR IN EUROPE, which was published by Ballantine Books in May, 2003. Mr. Fortier was a member of the American Fighter Aces Association, the Military Officers Association of American (MOAA), the Air Force Association, the 355th Fighter Group Association and a former member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Mr. Fortier was a member of the Gilford Community Church.

Survivors include his wife, Jane (Sword) Fortier, of Gilford, NH; two sons, John Fortier of Rollinsford, NH and Robert Fortier of Strafford, NH; a daughter, Diana Genest, of North Carolina; six stepchildren, Jeffrey Waite of Massachusetts, Nicholas Waite and Adam Waite both of Gilmanton, NH, Julie Roy of Somersworth, NH; Norma Ruchti of Gilmanton, NH and Jennifer Kolb of New Durham, NH; sixteen grandchildren; a brother, Raymond Fortier, of New York; three sisters, Lillian Gregor of Colorado, Lucille Atkinson of Hudson, NH and Theresa Butler of New Mexico and many nephews and nieces.

There will be no calling hours.

A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, November 26, 2005 at 11:00AM at the Gilford Community Church, Potter Hill Road, Gilford, NH. Rev. Michael Graham, Pastor of the Church, will officiate.

Burial with full military honors will follow in the Raymond C. Wixson Memorial Garden, Gilford, NH.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Gilford Public Library, 2 Belknap Mountain Road, Gilford, NH 03249.

Wilkinson-Beane Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, NH is in charge of the arrangements.

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