FORTIN LUIS HORACIO FORTIN Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, February 14, 1920 to a French father and an Argentine mother, Luis Horacio Fortin died January 19, 2010. He was promoted to Commandeur of the French Legion d'Honneur. He left Argentina, in response to General de Gaulle's June 18, 1940 appeal, and joined the Free French Forces in England the next month. As a pilot in the group "Lorraine" of the Free French Air Force, he flew 50 combat missions during two tours. As lead pilot, he displayed remarkable qualities of courage and skill. He participated in perilous missions over Western Europe, in particular during the Normandy Invasion. The three French war decorations and the British Distinguished Flying Cross are indications of his heroic war record. Returning to Argentina after the war, Horacio Fortin began four successive and successful careers. First, he was the lead pilot of the newly founded national airline, Aerol??neas Argentinas. This was followed by his years as a student at the University of Buenos Aires and Columbia University in New York, from which he received his PhD. Upon completion of his doctorate, he served as a diplomat with the Argentine Embassy before becoming senior economist at the World Bank, where he worked for economic and social development. In later life, he was an active participant in war veterans activities, including the 50th anniversary of the landing in Normandy at Arromanches in 1994 as guest of the President of France and the June 18, 1990 celebration de Gaulle's speech in London as the guest of Her Majesty the Queen of England. June 25 2002, he attended the last major gathering of the Free French Air Force crews in Reims, France. He was a past president of the French War Veterans of Washington. Mr. Fortin is survived by his wife of 62 years, the former Blanca Pascual, other relatives, and numerous friends. His life will be celebrated during a memorial mass at St. Jane de Chantal, 9601 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD., Saturday, February 13 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Red Cross.
Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 8, 2010.