Gerald R. Fortman

July 9, 1934 ~ September 5, 2020 (age 86)


Columbus Grove, Ohio

Gerald Fortman, 86, died peacefully at the Meadows of Ottawa on Saturday, September 5, 2020.

Born July 9, 1934 at home in New Cleveland, Ohio to Fredrick and Hilda (Kuhlman) Fortman.  He attended Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Ottawa, Ohio. On June 30, 1956 he married Judith Ann Schwab of Holgate, Ohio who preceded him in death.

Jerry joined his parents' dry cleaning business in 1951 and ran Fortman's Town and Country Cleaners in Columbus Grove after the death of his father in 1969 until his retirement in 1996.  From 1953 to 1961, he served in the United States Naval Reserves. He was an active member of the Columbus Grove community having served on the Village Council and volunteered for the Lions Club, the Sons of the Legion, and the Pool Society. He was a member of St. Anthony of Padua Church, participating in the Men's Choir and serving as a Eucharist minister. He loved to travel, both locally by taking Sunday drives, and around the country. He especially enjoyed his trips to Las Vegas.  There was nothing he enjoyed more in his retirement than spending time with buddies at coffee, both at "the institute" and at Tabler's. He was never seen around town without a hat and a smile!

He is survived by his children: Leslie (Jim) Smith of Bloomfield, IN; Wendy Bechtol of Lima, OH; Chris (Deb Langhals) Fortman, Dan (Nikki) Fortman, Gretchen (Tim) Staley, and Eric (Stephani) Fortman, all of Columbus Grove. Grandchildren: Holly (Philip) Mix, Andy (Nichol) Smith, and Leigh Smith; Joe (Holly) McName, Jillian Bechtol and Victoria (Catlin) Mason; Abrielle Fortman and Aidan Fortman; Haley (Matthew) McVicker, James Fortman, and Katelind Fortman; Brynn Fortman, Elyse Fortman, and Kyla Fortman. Step-grandson Austin (Alexis) Hoyt. Eleven Great-grandchildren. His brother, Paul (Joyce) Fortman, Ottawa. Sister-in-laws: Ann Fortman, Ottawa, Betty (Don) Rettig, Holgate. Brother-in-laws: Jerome (Astrid) Schwab, Davisson, MI; Keith (Tammy) Schwab, Edgerton, OH.

He was preceded in death by brothers Kenneth Fortman and Frederick Fortman, Jr.; In-laws Caroline and Fred Ellerbrock; and Mark Schwab.

Family and friends are invited to visitation at Hartman Sons Funeral Home, Columbus Grove, on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 and Wednesday, September 9, 2020 from 3:00-7:00 pm.

Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Father David Ritchey at 10:00 am, Thursday, September 10, 2020, at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Columbus Grove.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

The family would like to extend their appreciation to Dr. Mandy Klass and the entire staff at the Meadows of Ottawa for their wonderful care, kindness and friendship with Dad.

Memorial contributions may be made to: St. Anthony's School Endowment Fund, 520 West Sycamore St., Columbus Grove, OH 45830.

Online condolences may be expressed at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gerald R. Fortman, please visit our floral store.


September 8, 2020

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Hartman Sons Funeral Home
10879 State Route 12 West
Columbus Grove, Ohio 45830

September 9, 2020

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Hartman Sons Funeral Home
10879 State Route 12 West
Columbus Grove, Ohio 45830

Mass of Christian Burial
September 10, 2020

10:00 AM
St. Anthony Catholic Church
W. Sycamore Street
Columbus Grove, Ohio 45830

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