Sylvia Ann Fortney, age 96, of rural Viroqua, passed away peacefully at Vernon Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, August 12th, after suffering a stroke on Sunday. She was born August 10, 1924 to John and Marie Wedwick. Sylvia graduated from Viroqua High School in 1942. She worked, in Milwaukee, as a secretary before meeting and marrying the love of her life, Connie (Conrad) Fortney on November 3, 1945. She and Connie raised dairy cattle and instilled in their children and grandchildren a love for nature as well as the importance of hard work and perseverance. Along with the dairy cattle, they also raised tobacco and she could spear the tobacco like no other. Those that did not take pride in doing their task well were quickly taught the proper method. Sylvia was an active lifetime member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, where she was baptized and confirmed. She loved her church and volunteered in the clothes closet, quilting in the basement as well as with the Ladies aid, Dorcas Magdalene circle and teaching Sunday School. Her love for God and faith in Him was unwavering regardless of her circumstance. Even during the heartbreaking time of watching her son Jon pass away, she leaned on the Lord and her faith carried her through. Her daily living and sharing of God’s love through scripture and stories left the everlasting gift of her love and God’s with her children, grandchildren and their families and friends. During her retirement years, Sylvia did not slow down. Her love for her family was deep and she loved the time she had with them. Along with gardening, freezing fruits and vegetables, and continued her longstanding love for baking, she also loved to travel. Family and friends knew her baking across the country. There were many Norwegian desserts with Lefsa and Sanbakkels being two favorites. Wonderful pies and gigantic monster cookies and not to be forgotten were her yummy, famous donuts. Those donuts were a staple during the coffee hour, or between services at church and whenever she got a ‘donut call.’ During her countless winter trips to Texas, her TX friends also enjoyed those donuts. The grandchildren, along with their friends and parents of friends waited for her arrival in anticipation of those donuts. When she left TX to go home, a surplus was left in the freezer for them to enjoy! Additional retirement year trips allowed Sylvia time spent with her grandchildren and enjoy trips with family to Norway, Hawaii and many road trips. Along with the wonderful desserts and treats, no one could forget her sense of humor, her jokes and her ability to make you giggle so that you left with a smile on your face and a happy heart. When you envision Sylvia the first things that come to mind are probably those trademark manicured fingernails in bright (happy) red and lipstick. If your memory of her is one where she was dressed for an event, those famous high heeled shoes are likely to be remembered. (It did not matter if the event was dressy or casual)! Oh, the stories that can be told of her are endless. She has left us with precious memories indeed.
She is survived by her sons Craig Fortney and Chris Fortney of rural Viroqua, daughter Ann (Craig) Reed of Appleton; 14 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, her brother John Wedwick of Beloit, WI and daughter-in-law Ginny Fortney of Florida. She was preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, Connie, beloved son Jon and siblings Stanley Wedwick, Alice Dahl, Lillian Gunderson, Wilmer Wedwick, Norman Wedwick, Helen Bogie and Arden Wedwick.
Services will be held at the Thorson Funeral Home in Viroqua at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 16, 2020 with Pastor Yvonne Marshall officiating. Family and friends may call from noon until 1:30 p.m. prior to the service. If attending, we ask you to please wear a mask if possible, per state guidelines. Burial will take place in the Belgium Ridge Cemetery in rural Viroqua.
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