Life Story / Obituary


David Oliver Fortin, 81, of Traverse City, died July 22, 2021. He was born on December 20, 1939 in Muskegon, MI, the son of Oliver J. and Madeliene (Jones) Fortin.

He graduated from Central High School, class of 1958.

Dave met the love of his life in New York, Joanie; the girl of his dreams. They were married May 6, 1961 at The Community Church of Little Neck in New York.

He was best known for his work as a local broadcaster. Dave began his career in entertainment at the Cherry County Playhouse, the summer of 1955. He was the first Traverse City Native to work as an actor at the Playhouse.

Dave went on to work as an actor in New York on and off Broadway. He returned to Traverse City in 1963 and worked at WPBN TV 7 and 4 as a meteorologist and reporter. He loved his job and all the people he interviewed including farmers to businessmen and women. He received many awards for his reporting. After retirement from 7 and 4 News in 2006, he worked for Mi News 26. He interviewed Johnny Cash, Bob Hope, both President’s George Bush, Barbara Bush and President Gerald Ford whom he was a friend, just to name a few.

Dave's life was full and entertaining; he was featured in several movies, "Teenage Rock" and was a stand in for "Adventures of a Young Man" and "Hideaway" that was filmed in Traverse City. He also filmed and produced Ernest Hemingway's sister "Sunny" that was sold to the Kennedy Library.

He and Joanie retired as snowbirds to Bradenton Florida, where Dave would continue to entertain by writing and singing country music, playing his guitar and keyboard at local churches and senior centers. He enjoyed writing and recording Christian and country music. Dave had many talents and, his life was full and exciting.

Dave also enjoyed going to the beach, boating, camping and telling stories to all of his friends. He loved nature, seeing the pretty birds, and all of the beautiful flowers.

He was a member of the Moose Lodge in Bradenton Beach Florida and The Presbyterian Church of Traverse City. He was a former Elks Lodge member in Traverse City.

Dave is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joan Ann (Peterson) Fortin; daughter, Michelle Casselman; granddaughters, Crystal (Jason) North, Tammy Ann (Charlie) Jones, April (Edward) Echavarria; cousin, Marcia Fortin; and 9 great-grandchildren. He loved and adored his daughter, Michelle and all the little ones his, granddaughters, and his great-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Oliver and Madeliene Fortin. He mourned the loss of his loving daughter, Sonya Maria Fortin, who was killed by a drunk driver on December 2, 2020.

Memorial Services will be held 11am, Saturday, August 7, 2021 at The Presbyterian Church of Traverse City. The family will greet friends starting at 10:30 am. Private burial will be held at Oakwood Cemetery, Traverse City. Memorial contributions may be made in Dave's honor to Northwestern Michigan College. Please visit www.lifestorytc.com to share your thoughts and more.