WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. — Patrick S. Forton, 53, of Winter Springs, Fla., was killed in a motorcycle accident on May 12, 2009. His children, Angie and Taylor Forton, his sister, Lynn Mackey, and his niece, Jennifer Davidson, were at his side.
Pat was born Nov. 8, 1955, at Munson Hospital in Traverse City, and is the fourth of four children born to Richard and Barbara Forton of Traverse City.
Pat attended Saint Francis Grade School and graduated from Traverse City Senior High School in 1974. He played little league baseball and was a member of the Trojan baseball team. He also played baseball for the Traverse City Capitals for a year as the pitcher.
After high school, he entered the military and served in the United States Army for two years. At one point during his military service, he visited his parents in Traverse City, where he met up with his sister, Lynn, who was in the Navy and his brother, Peter, who was in the Air Force.
Pat loved driving the big rigs and began driving after he returned home from the service. He worked as a driver for two local distributors prior to his employment at Four Winds Boat Company, during which he spent several years delivering boats throughout the United States. After he was transferred to Florida by Four Winds, he delivered boats to locations throughout Florida and the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Pat applied for a driver position at Walmart in March 1995. He was one of 12 drivers selected from among 500 applicants, and according to his safety manager, Mark Carroll, "Pat stood out because of his enormous and impeccable driving record and his ability to stay upbeat." Pat had many friends throughout the Walmart community, not only at the Walmart Distribution Center in Brooksville, Fla., but throughout the entire United States. Pat completed over one million miles with Walmart and recently received a safety award for achieving over 500,000 miles of incident-free driving.
Pat was an adventurer who loved to travel with his family. In 1981, he traveled throughout central Spain with his parents and his sister, Lynn, who was stationed at the Rota Naval Base. He went on cruises to Jamaica and the Bahamas with his brother, Peter, and to the Bahamas with his son, Taylor. He took his daughter, Angie, on one of his two trips to London and, more recently, traveled to Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast with his family in Florida.
Pat was an avid golfer and a great fan of Tiger Woods. He played golf for events supporting Walmart charities and with his family and many of his friends. He had a standing golf date with his friend, Marvin Moore, who introduced him to his place of worship, the Dayspring Community Church in Apopka, Fla. He made regular contributions to his favorite charity, Base Camp, an organization that supports families and children suffering from cancer. According to his operations manager, Ron Murray, "Pat always had a smile and a short story for everyone. He will be greatly missed throughout the entire Walmart community."
Pat was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Gerald and Helen Forton, and his maternal grandparents, Peter and Beatrice Jensen.
He is survived by his two children, Angela Renee Forton and Taylor Kyle Forton, of Florida, his parents, Richard and Barbara Forton; his sisters, Lynn Mackey of Florida and Lee King; brother, Peter Forton of Florida; and his nieces, Marynell Ripmaster, Sarah Holcombe of California, Amy Lewis and Jennifer Davidson of Florida.
A memorial service was held at the Dayspring Community Church in Apopka, Fla., on Sunday, May 31, 2009, officiated by Pastor Mark Jeter. His family and many of his neighbors and friends, including his Walmart family, celebrated his life at this ceremony. His family in Florida brought him back to Traverse City, where he was interred at Oakwood Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be directed to the Father Fred Foundation.
This obituary was originally published in the Record-Eagle.