B. Ronald Fortner, M.D. passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at the age of 80 in Houston, TX.
Visitation will be from 6-7:00 p.m., Monday, March 29, 2021 at Schooler Funeral Home, 4100 S. Georgia St. Funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at Polk Street United Methodist Church, 1401 S. Polk St. Entombment will follow in Llano Cemetery. Arrangements are by Schooler Funeral Home.
Ronald was born in Dimmitt, TX on March 23, 1940 to Ben and Edna (Burks) Fortner. He graduated from Dimmitt High School as Valedictorian in 1958. He received a full four year scholarship to Baylor University. Soon after graduating in 1962, Ronald married Jane Pridgeon of Temple, TX. He attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch of Galveston, the first medical school in Texas. Ronald specialized in Cardiology, finishing his residency at Dallas Methodist Hospital. In 1967, he was working at Dallas Methodist the morning his first child, Cynthia was born on New Year’s Day. Two years later while completing a fellowship in Interventional Cardiology in Galveston, his second child, John, was born.
In 1970, Ronald was drafted into the United States Air Force and served as a Major at Luke Air Force base in Scottsdale, AZ. There, in 1971, his third child, Rebecca, was born.
In 1974, Ronald returned to the Texas Panhandle where he began his cardiology career in Amarillo. In 1992, he founded the Amarillo Heart Group with Joaquin Martinez-Arraras, M.D. to serve the residents of Amarillo and the outlying regions. He was President and Managing Partner until his retirement in 2004. Ronald had more than 25 years of volunteer service to the American Heart Association and in 2002, received the Paul V. Ledbetter, M.D. Physician Volunteer of the Year for the American Heart Association. Ronald served as President of the Amarillo American Heart Association and received numerous Golden Nail awards for donations to Amarillo Symphony, Amarillo Opera, and Amarillo Little Theatre. In 2005, he established the “B. Ronald Fortner M.D. President's Honor Scholarship” at West Texas A&M University. He often stressed the value of education.
He loved taking family trips to Italy and traveling throughout Europe with friends. He was an avid reader and history buff.
Ronald or “Papa Dr.” as he was known to his grandchildren, is survived by his daughter, Cynthia Fortner Slade and husband, Dr. Stephen G. Slade of Houston; his son, John Fortner and wife, Tina of Dallas; his five grandchildren, Rachael and Jacqueline Bennett of Houston, John Marq, Gracie, and Bella Fortner of Dallas; and his brother, Robert Fortner and wife, Melody of Amarillo.
He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Rebecca Fortner; and her mother, Jane Pridgeon Fortner.