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Elsie Mae Fostin Fortin
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Birth: Jun. 19, 1911
Arenac County
Michigan, USA
Death: Mar. 9, 2011
Bay City
Bay County
Michigan, USA

Maternal grandmother of singer/performer Madonna.

FORTIN, Elsie Mae - June 19, 1911 - March 9, 2011. Just three months shy of her 100th birthday, Elsie Mae Fortin has passed away at her home on N. Dean Street in Bay City, Michigan, surrounded by friends and family on this very fitting Ash Wednesday. Born to Marie Louise and Henry "Shorty" Fostin in the town of Standish, Michigan, Elsie grew up under the guiding hands of the Catholic Church and a rich French-Canadian heritage so alive in the community at the time. Her parents moved to Bay City and eventually returned to Standish when she was 11, but Elsie stayed behind in Bay City and went to live with the Cote's. (God Bless the Cote Family and Katie Cote who became her lifelong friend.) At 18 she met Willard Fortin, a railroad and lumberman, and they were married on November 23, 1929. Elsie loved babies and found a special purpose in caring for their innocence. From the age of 19 into her forties she gave birth to eight children. Elsie was widowed at age 48 and endured much loss throughout her long life, including the deaths of three sons and a daughter; but she remained devoted to her faith, demonstrating a strength and depth of character that belied the seeming innocence of her own nature. Despite it all she never lost her ability to love, enjoy a laugh, worry about what was in the fridge, and offer compassion to someone in need. The church and the teachings of Christ remained central to Elsie's life, and she sought to be of service, happily volunteering for many years with The Sisters of Mercy, driving them whenever she could to wherever they needed to be. She continued to donate from her humble resources regularly to their order, and to The Capuchin Franciscan Friars throughout the years, and still found ways to care for her family and friends. Visitation Catholic Church on Smith Street in Bay City was her church home for more than half a century. It played a central role in the lives of her entire family, and as such it was witness to nearly every Fortin Baptismal, Holy Communion, Confirmation, wedding, and funeral. The Fortin Family grew up, and matured at Visitation, it will always hold a special marker in their hearts and minds. When she became less mobile, nearby St. Mary's of the Assumption was happy to welcome her into their family, becoming her second church home, which it remained through the last two decades. She was always grateful to them for their work in the community, and for the generosity of care offered to her in her senior years. Anyone who knows Elsie Fortin knows that her door was always open! She was a touchstone in the lives of so very many. She was a gentle soul who listened without judgment and offered comfort, care, and always a home-cooked meal- there were no strangers to her. Elsie's kitchen table was a safe-haven and gathering hub for her children, their friends and families; to countless visiting grandchildren, cousins, spouses, longtime neighbors, and family friends. There was bacon, something sweet, and always more coffee at the ready; during the holidays there was meat pie, and occasionally the olive martini. She was regarded as second mother to many regardless of relation. Right to the end, she kept in touch with the concerns and details of her 97 descendants and their ever-changing lives. Up until Sunday of this week she was taking visitors, listening to Glenn Miller, and Skyping with distant family. Though she lived her entire life within 40 miles of her birthplace and seldom traveled outside of Michigan, Elsie Fortin remained for decades the beloved matriarch of an extended family that has collectively encircled the globe. As such, her quiet, yet tenacious and childlike spirit has seen more of the world through them than she could have ever imagined. The plaque that hangs on her kitchen wall says it all: "God is Love, and he who abides in love, abides in God, and God in him. May God bless and rest the soul of Elsie Mae Fortin, His daughter in Christ. Elsie Fortin was preceded in death by her husband Willard, and four of their children: Dale, Madonna, Michael, and Gary; by her sister, Lena Pendred and brother, Al, as well as her daughter-in-law, Roberta Fortin; grandson, Gabriel Fortin and granddaughter, Danielle LeRoux; best friends, Helen Lange and Caroline Voisine. She is survived by four children: Earl, Marilynn Sparks, David (wife Kim), Chris Fortin and son-in-law, Silvio Ciccone; beloved friend and niece, Dee King; daughter-in-law, Catherine (Rowena) Fortin; dear family friends, Father Leo Petrimoulx and his sister, Pat Tahey; Chickie Sanders; as well as multiple generations of loving grandchildren; great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren who know and love her as "Nanoo." From her eight children, there were 36 grandchildren; 47 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren; in-laws and family spouses, all those whose love for Elsie give them an equal share in this loss and remembrance of her life. The Funeral Liturgy will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, 607 E. South Union St. Celebrant will be Rev. Fr. Craig L. Albrecht with Rite of Committal following at Calvary Cemetery. Friends may call at the Gephart Funeral Home on Friday from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. where the Vigil for the Deceased will take place at 8:00 p.m. Mrs. Fortin will lie in state at the church on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until time of service. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, Our Lady of the Visitation Catholic Church or the donor's favorite charity. 
Family links: 
  Marie Louise Demers Fostin (1875 - 1929)
  Willard A. Fortin (1903 - 1959)
  Dale J. Fortin (1930 - 1966)*
  Madonna Louise Fortin Ciccone (1933 - 1963)*
  Gary Thomas Fortin (1946 - 1993)*
*Calculated relationship
Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum
Bay City
Bay County
Michigan, USA
Created by: a84c72
Record added: Mar 10, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 66736176
Elsie Mae <i>Fostin</i> Fortin
Added by: Shawn Arthur Wells
Elsie Mae <i>Fostin</i> Fortin
Added by: K. Clinard
Elsie Mae <i>Fostin</i> Fortin
Added by: Ed Chilton
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- a84c72
 Added: Jan. 23, 2016
Rest in Peace.
- gracedv
 Added: Dec. 9, 2015

- a84c72
 Added: Aug. 22, 2015
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