Cover photo for James Michael Fortino, MD's Obituary
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James Michael Fortino, MD

January 31, 1934 — April 18, 2023

James Michael Fortino, MD

                                                 James “Jerry” Michael Fortino, MD
Dr. Jerry Fortino passed away peacefully on April 18, 2023 at home with his beloved wife, Carolyn, by his side.  Jerry lived to be 89, or “minus 11” per his vernacular for having the plan to live to be 100.  While he didn’t quite reach his goal age, he certainly packed one hundred years worth of joy and adventure into his life. Jerry was born in Lansing, Michigan to Pasquale and Carolyn Fortino and grew up in nearby Grand Ledge. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame and then earned his medical degree from the University of Michigan. He completed his internship and pediatric residency at Charity Hospital where he fell in love with New Orleans as well as a young nursing student named Carolyn Malone. Together Jerry and Carolyn opened Children’s Clinic in Gretna, LA where he practiced pediatrics for over fifty years. He cared deeply for the families he treated and they adored him in turn. Patients frequently spotted Dr. Jerry around town and were always thrilled to see him. He reluctantly retired at the age of 85. A long-time Rotarian, Dr. Fortino served as the Governor of District 6840 of Rotary International and spearheaded many impactful causes.  After Hurricane Katrina left the great city of New Orleans in disarray, Jerry launched the restoration of City Park’s main entrance and grounds in 2006.  Not only his district, but many districts from around the country and the world, were recruited by Jerry to help restore this historic part of New Orleans.  One of his recruits, a Rotary Club from New York, replaced all the lost band uniforms for Warren Easton High School. While Jerry was humble, his family would like to note that he was the recipient of the following awards and accolades: 53 Years of Service to West Jefferson Medical Center; three of Rotary’s prestigious awards - “Service Above Self,” “Citation for Meritorious Service,” and “International Service;” and the 2008 Peoples Health Champion Award, for which he was congratulated by the governor of Louisiana during half time at a game for his favorite team,  the New Orleans Saints. Jerry was a true renaissance man and appreciated the art and culture of the many places he visited around the world. He was a trustee of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and he was honored to donate many of his favorite treasures to their collection. He was also a talented dancer and gardener. Above all, Jerry was a devoted family man. He was affectionately referred to as “PaPa” by his grandchildren. PaPa’s energy and jokester spirit were his hallmark. He was known to take hide-and-seek with his children to a new level. Jerry was frequently undefeated at dominos, although he was often suspected of “foul play.”  He will always be remembered as a loving and generous husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, doctor, philanthropist, and friend. Jerry is predeceased by his parents, Pasquale and Carolyn Fortino, and his brothers, Louie and Peter Fortino. He is survived by his wife of sixty years, Carolyn Malone Fortino; his sister, Helen (Caruso); children, Leah Ragiel (Steve), John Fortino, Andrea Taulli (David), Gianna Tarantino (Gerard); brothers and sisters-in-law; many nieces and nephews; ten incredibly talented and cherished grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. The family would like to thank those that helped care for Jerry over the years, especially Donald Wortmann, the late Selena Pugh, all his doctors and nurses and Heart of Hospice. We are forever grateful for their excellent care and compassion. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Ogden Museum of Southern Art by emailing development@ogdenmuseum.org or by calling 504-539-9616 or to TheRotaryFoundation,Rotary.org.  Please specify that contributions go towards Polio Plus, which pays for polio vaccines, in honor of Jerry Fortino on the donation form. Funeral services will be held on Sunday, April 23rd at Mothe Funeral Home, 2100 Westbank Expressway, Harvey, LA 70058.   A visitation will begin at 11 am, followed by a 1 pm service.  
To view and sign the family guestbook, please visit www.mothefunerals.com.

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Past Services

Visitation

Sunday, April 23, 2023

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Harvey - Mothe Funeral Homes, LLC

2100 Westbank Expy, Harvey, LA 70058

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Funeral Service

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

Harvey - Mothe Funeral Homes, LLC

2100 Westbank Expy, Harvey, LA 70058

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Graveside Service

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Starts at 1:45 pm (Central time)

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Guestbook

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