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Dr. Andrew C. Fortier
January 13, 1947 ~ November 6, 2023 (age 76) 76 Years Old
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Dr. Andrew C. Fortier, 76, of Urbana passed away peacefully on November 6, 2023, a beloved father, brother, “poohpaw” and friend to his loved ones.
Andrew was born on January 13, 1947 in Merced, California, the eldest child of Betty (Cameron) Fortier and Samuel Fortier. He grew up in Delano, California and enjoyed playing football, baseball and other outdoor activities. He was proud of achieving both the Eagle Scout rank and Boy Scout Order of the Arrow, and at age 13 he climbed Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States. He loved the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains, and as a young adult, he worked in the U.S. Forest Service, as well as the grape fields of California’s Central Valley.
He attended the University of California-Berkeley and graduated with a degree in anthropology in 1968. There he met his wife and the love of his life, Priscilla Henderson, and won her over by writing long love letters. They married on March 26, 1970 and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where they attended graduate school and received Masters’ degrees.
In 1973, Andrew received a federal grant to work in Bulgaria for anthropological research for one year. Because very few Americans traveled behind the Iron Curtain of the Soviet era, he and Priscilla experienced culture shock and many adventures in Bulgaria, while also traveling to other parts of Europe.
Andrew completed his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1981 through the University of Wisconsin. He worked on various archeological sites, notably Cahokia Mounds, an ancient urban center on the Mississippi River, and the I-270 highway project in Illinois. His most prized excavation was the “red goddess” figurine, which was displayed at the Spurlock Museum in Urbana in an exhibit of figurines and other artwork crafted by Native Americans who lived in Cahokia.
During his time with the University of Illinois and the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, he served as an Archaeological Site Director and Special Projects Director. He edited several books and published more than 50 site reports and peer reviewed articles, while receiving accolades for his many contributions to Illinois Archaeology. He continued to do outreach lectures and consulting after his retirement from the University of Illinois in 2015, after more than 37 years of service.
Andrew was a passionate and frustrated fan of the Illini, Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. He had a ten-year love-hate affair with running and completed many 10k races. He was a history buff, researcher and writer until his death. He delighted in telling stories, making bad puns and had a keen interest in unusual medical topics.
Andrew is survived by his daughters Andrea Alghalith and Elizabeth (Jeremy) Jenkins, granddaughters Natalie and Charlotte, sisters Diane (Ralph) Trieselmann of Redmond, WA, and Robyn (Arie) Dykhuizen of Eagle, ID, a brother-in-law Peter Henderson and sister-in-law Claudia Alphin of CA and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his adored wife Priscilla of 52 years, last November.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, November 16, 2023 from 5-7 p.m., to be followed by a memorial service at Sunset Funeral Home at 710 N. Neil in Champaign. A private interment will occur at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Champaign. Memorial contributions may be made to the Champaign County Humane Society https://www.cuhumane.org/Donate/MakeaDonation.aspx or the Sierra Nevada Foundation https://sierranevadafoundation.org/about-the-foundation/