Obituary of Ann Elizabeth Fortner
Ann Elizabeth Fortner, of Cocoa Beach, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, following a brief illness. Born Ann Elizabeth Jenkins, on Nov. 7th, 1943, her parents were Marvin and Elizabeth Jenkins, of Thomson, GA. She grew up in Thomson, and was a member of the national champion high school baton twirling team, of which she was the majorette. She graduated from Georgia Southern College in 1965 with a Bachelor’s degree in business, and a minor in mathematics. After initially starting a career in banking, she was attracted by the lure of flying and travel, and became a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines in 1967. For the next 35 years, she flew everywhere Delta flew, both in the U.S. and Europe. She started in the propeller-driven DC-6 and DC-7 aircraft, and eventually flew on every type of airplane Delta flew, including the DC-8 and -9, Convair 880 (her favorite), Boeing 727, 737, 747, 757, and 767, and the Lockheed L-1011. She was based variously in Atlanta, New Orleans, and Orlando, but her heart was always in New Orleans after a 7-year period living there in the 1970s. She was a die-hard Saints fan, and had many stories about flying the team on Delta charter flights to their away games. Many of the players asked for her by name to work on those flights.
Ann was above all else a lover of animals. She gave generously to many animal welfare organizations, and signed countless petitions addressing animal cruelty and abuse causes. She rescued many lost dogs, and was known to stop a car in the middle of the road to pick up a stray, or help a defenseless turtle complete its crossing. Over time, she was ‘mama ’to 5 toy poodles, Muffin, Sofi, Sade, Abbe, and Nellie. The last, Nellie, was a rescue from the Chinese dog meat trade, which she fought against for years.
Ann is survived by Nellie, and her husband Ray Fortner, of Cocoa Beach, a Delta pilot whom she met on a Delta flight. They were married in Nov, 2000, and shared over 23 very happy years together. Ann was a true Southern lady, with a charm and wit that anyone who ever met her would never forget. She will be deeply missed by all of her many friends and colleagues. But we all may take comfort that she is with all her beloved poodles, laughing and playing together in Heaven, forever.