Funeral services and a celebration of Royce's life will be held at Risco First Baptist Church on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 3, at 2 p.m. Rev. Gene Lancaster and Rev. Lewis Scott will officiate. Interment will be at Memorial park Cemetery in Malden. Visitation for friends and relatives will be held on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Bradshaw Funeral Home in Malden.
Royce graduated from Risco High School in 1963. On Aug. 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 the Missouri State Fair Farm 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 choir and quartet activities. He was a long-standing member of the Board of Directors at McCord Gin in Gideon and the Little River Water Drainage District. Because of his endearing smile and sparkling brown eyes, he was affectionately called "Smiley" by his friends.
Those left to treasure his many memories are his beloved wife, Alice; daughter, Angie Miller, her husband, Robert and grandsons, Toby, Tye and Trey, all of rural Risco; son Mark Fortner, his wife, Sara and grandchildren, Jacob and Molly, of Tallapoosa; daughter, Betsy Mays, her husband, Bryan, and grandchildren, Nathan and Ashton, of Poplar Bluff, Mo.; his mother, Francoy Fortner, of Risco; his brother, Bill Fortner, of Risco; his sister, Mary Francis Shinall, of Rogers, Ark., and numerous extended family members and a host of friends.
Royce 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 life with integrity and a positive outlook. Royce's hope was, that through his witness in this battle with cancer, others might come to know Christ as their personal Savior and Lord of their lives. The family would like to thank all the staff, doctors, and nurses at Barnes Jewish West, Saint Francis Hospital, and the employees of Visiting Nurses Association for their help, care, concern, and support.. The outpouring of love from friends has made us blessed. The family appreciates your continued prayers and support and request memorials or donations be sent to the missions program of the Risco First Baptist Church.