Ruth Gilbert Fortenberry, aged 85, of McGehee died on June 21, 2021 at Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock. Ruth was born on October 9, 1935 to the late Margaret Elizabeth and Henry Gilbert. She was a graduate of Desha Central High School Class of 1955, where she met her husband, the late Len Fortenberry. Len and Ruth were married 63 years prior to his death in 2018. Ruth was a long-time employee of Safeway in McGehee and later of Harvest Foods in Bastrop when Len’s job moved the family to Northeast Louisiana. Ruth met and loved many friends through her work prior to her retirement. When she retired, Ruth became a full-time Grammy to her four granddaughters and loved spending time tending to and entertaining them. Being the only girl of eight brothers and then having sons of her own, Ruth especially loved tea parties with her granddaughters and buying them baby dolls and special books.
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Ruth was preceded in death by her parents as well as her brothers, James, Vardan, John Lee, Joe Grady, Guy, Roy, Red, and Bobby Gilbert. She is survived by her sons, Todd Fortenberry and Carlton “Stoney” Fortenberry and his wife, Krista, of McGehee; her granddaughters, Stephanie Tubbs and her husband, Zach, of Mer Rouge, LA; Shelby Fortenberry and John Ross Withers; Kelley Fortenberry; and Caroline Fortenberry, all of McGehee; and her great-grandson, whom she dearly loved, John Ross Tubbs of Mer Rouge, LA. She is also survived by a beloved niece, Earlene Gilbert Landry of Monroe, LA along with a host of cherished nieces, nephews, and sisters-in-law.
Graveside services will be held at McGehee Cemetery on Wednesday, June 23 at 11:00 am with Brother Ben White officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the McGehee Branch Public Library, 211 North Fourth Street, McGehee, AR 71654.