Beloved husband, father, and lifelong educator, John Fortier died in his Redondo Beach home at age 87 on Sunday, May 16, surrounded by family.
A fifty year resident of Redondo Beach, John was born September 18, 1933, in Pacific Grove, CA and grew up in Carmel, where his father owned Fortier's Drugs, an Ocean Avenue fixture.
John was a member of Carmel Mission School's inaugural class and graduated from Carmel High School in 1951, after which he enlisted in the United States Air Force. Deployed to Korea, he served in the 13th Bomb Squadron as a B-26 gunner. Upon his return, John attended UC Berkeley and graduated from San Jose State in 1964, followed by post graduate work at Stanford.
In the 1960s, John taught at Fisher Jr High School in Los Gatos, where he worked successfully with unruly students, while introducing a home economics and practical skills course to both boys and girls. In the 1970s he shifted to remedial education for adults seeking a GED, primarily in South Central Los Angeles. Additional work with Native Americans heightened an appreciation of their issues, and he contributed his resources to advocating on their behalf. In retirement, John often volunteered his math and English tutoring skills, while also conducting free math workshops at public libraries and community centers for adults, children, and parents.
In 2003 John commenced a one-man peace vigil Friday afternoons on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Knob Hill in Redondo Beach, where he prominently displayed his large peace flag and "Veterans for Peace" and "War is Not the Answer" signs. During 17 years on the corner, the passing shouts and gestures evolved from generally negative into peace signs and cheers. Regardless of point of view, John cherished interaction with anyone stopping by for dialogue.
Married 62 years, John was a devoted husband to wife Michele, proud father to Gwain, Dylan, Damon, William, John (deceased 2017), and grandfather to nine and great-grandfather to five.
In lieu of flowers, John would have appreciated donations for Veterans for Peace, Doctors Without Borders
, the ACLU, or the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Published by The Beach Reporter on Jun. 24, 2021.