Daughter of Cecil Lake, Pat Fortems passed away March 11 after a short and brave battle with cancer.
Dorothea Patricia Smith was born on Dec. 6, 1940, in Gough Memorial outpost hospital in Cecil Lake. The outpost hospital was located beside today’s St. Mattias Anglican Church and the farm of her parents, Pete and Dorothea.
Pat moved from Fort. St. John after Nov. 18, 1961, when she married RCMP Const. Vern Fortems but her heart never left Peace River, Cecil Lake, and her beloved breaks along the Beatton River.
Pat, the second of three daughters after Mary, was born during the early years of the Second World War. Soon after, her dad, Pete, went to Europe to serve his country. In those early years Pat spent hours and days with one of her favourite people in the world, her granny Frances Kemp, part of the first family to settle in Cecil Lake.
She went to school at Transpine elementary. In Grade 9, Pat and other kids her age in Cecil Lake went off to North Peace high school in Fort St. John and the dormitory, where they boarded during the week. Her first job was at the Lido Theatre. After graduating from North Peace high school, she loved working at Canadian Freightways.
Pat collected friends and kept them for life, starting in Cecil Lake, then Fort. St. John, and in Courtenay and Delta where she and Vern raised their two sons, Cam and Clint.
She is predeceased by Pete and Dorothea and sister Mary. Her little sister and best friend Maureen McIntosh lives in Fort St. John.
Pat had a successful working life in optometry offices, where she made lifelong friends, but her passion was raising her children and watching her six grandchildren – Connor, Nat, Cole, Ben, Chris and Claire – grow up. She was a good friend to her daughters-in-law Sandy and Carol.
We miss you so much.
Donations can be made in Pat’s name to St. Matthias Anglican Church – c/o 9503 112th Ave., Fort St. John, B.C. V1J 2W1. A celebration of life will be held Cecil Lake at a later date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Pat Fortems, please visit our floral store.