Royce graduated from Risco High School in 1963. On August 29, 1964, he was united in marriage to Alice STObaugh. He attended both Southeast Missouri State University and Rolla. Following graduation, with a degree in mechanical engineering, Royce was employed by Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas. In 1973, the family returned to the Tallapoosa area, where he began his 35-year farming career. During these years, he received several farming awards, including Missouri State Fair Family Award in 1981 and Outstanding Conservation Farmer Award in 1999. In addition to farming, Royce was an active member, deacon, and treasurer of Risco First Baptist Church, participating in the choir and quartet activities. He was a longstanding member of the Board of Directors of McCord Gin in Gideon and the Little River Water Drainage District. He was affectionately called "Smiley" by his friends because of his endearing smile and sparkling brown eyes.
Mr. Fortner was a man who was strong in his faith and lived his life accordingly. His generosity and kind heart were an inspiration to his family and friends. He lived his life with integrity and a positive outlook.
Survivors include his wife Alice; two daughters, Angie Miller and husband, Robert of rural Risco and Betsy Mays and husband, Bryan of Poplar Bluff; one son, Mark Fortner and wife, Sara of Tallapoosa; his mother, Francoy Fortner of Risco; one brother, Bill Fortner of Risco, one sister, Mary Frances Shinall of Rogers, Ark; seven grandchildren, Toby, Tye and Trey Miller of rural Risco, Jacob and Molly of Tallapoosa, and Nathan and Ashton of Poplar Bluff.
Visitation will be held Saturday, August 2, 2008 from 5-8 p.m. at Bradshaw Funeral Home in Malden.
Funeral services and a celebration of Royce's life will be held at Risco First Baptist Church on Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 2 p.m. with Rev. Gene Lancaster and Rev. Lewis Scott officiating.
Interment will follow at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Malden.
Memorials may be made to the Risco First Baptist Church attn: Missions Program.