Obituary of Paul Gerard Forti
Paul G. Forti, a devoted husband and father, passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside on Sunday afternoon, March 3, 2019. He was 81 years old. Paul was born and raised in Medford, MA and was a graduate of St. Clement High School in Somerville. He served for 6 months in the US Army Corps in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He worked for Polaroid Corporation in a variety of positions in the film manufacturing division and retired as a Manufacturing Supervisor. During his 37 years with Polaroid, he worked at their various locations, including Waltham, Norwood and New Bedford. Polaroid was a great place to work during those years. Polaroid was a company that promoted from within, and employees tended to spend their entire career with the company as Paul did. With Paul’s radiantly warm personality, it is no surprise that several of his co-workers became lifelong friends.
In 1955, Paul met his wife, Marie, playing cards with friends under a street light in Ball Square, Somerville. Their courtship included double features at the movies, outings to Nahant Beach, playing cards together and most often they could be found having a coke and burger at Steven’s in Somerville. They were married in 1960 and started their family in Medford, where they lived until 1972. They then moved to Burlington, where they raised their 3 daughters in a home filled with love and laughter. After their children were grown and starting families of their own, Paul and Marie downsized and moved to Wakefield, MA.
In 1982, Paul and Marie became owners of a townhouse in the newly built waterfront community of Samoset on Lake Winnipesaukee. He had a keen eye for real estate and knew instantly that this was the ideal place for a second home for his family. Paul had been integral to the fabric of the Samoset community since its inception. Paul initiated and led the Samoset Golf Open Championship for over 20 years, which was a highlight of the Samoset Summer season. He also served on the Board of Directors and as the Association’s President. Hot summer days were spent on his boat, pulling grandchildren on tubes, cruising the lake, anchoring at sand bars and coves, and swimming and fishing off the docks. His favorite place to relax with friends and family was on his deck overlooking the lake with “a little taste” in his hand.
Paul’s age never stopped him from trying new things. He was in his forties when he learned to ski, took up running and taught himself the game of golf. He loved the friendly competition of golf, the light-hearted taunting, and the comradery shared with all on the course. But there was nothing he loved more than “getting into your pocket” and having the bragging rights afterwards. Green Meadows, Pheasant Ridge, and Lochmere Country Clubs were some of his favorite golf destinations. Another of Paul’s favorite activities was playing cards with both family and friends. It was something he picked up with friends as a teenager. Gin, Whist and Poker were his games of choice. You could always find him at the K of C on a Friday night playing poker and gin with his buddies, strolling home in the wee hours of the morning. When asked how he did, he always replied that he had won “a dollar-three-eighty,” which always kept you guessing exactly how much he had won or lost. He was a longtime member of the Burlington Knights of Columbus. He was a self-taught handy man who didn’t shy away from any type of project. Whether it be building a garage, shed, or screened in porch for his family to enjoy, or helping to shingle a roof or put siding on a house, he was “Mr. Fix-It” to all his family and friends. He could fix almost anything from automobiles to household appliances, to electrical wiring and plumbing.
Rather than replacing something that had broken, Paul would take it apart, refurbish it and use it for another 20 years. You can still find Paul’s original gas grill from the 1970’s being used at his home in Wakefield.
Paul and Marie were a great team, creating a loving and supportive family. As a father and the only man in a house full of women, he was supportive, encouraging and caring, and would do anything for “his girls.” The same could be said of Paul as a grandfather. He was a tremendous part of their lives and supported them in all of their interests, sports, educations and careers. He was lively, uplifting, amusing, and so proud of each one of his family members for their special gifts and talents. It was not hard to spot him cheering on his grandkids at many softball, football, volleyball, basketball, baseball games and gymnastic meets. Traveling all over New England and even to Florida to see his grandchildren compete brought him so much joy. Family traditions, like hauling a wagon full of water to the Boston Marathon so the grandchildren could hand it to the runners, ice skating on frog pond and vacations to the Cape, NH and Florida were some of the favorites.
Despite Paul’s diagnosis, he could not be prevented from enjoying his family and the activities that he loved. He continued to walk, golf, play Friday night cards and support his grandchildren at their sporting events throughout his illness. He will be remembered for his positive outlook, genuine warmth, compassion and vibrant personality which lit up a room and enriched the lives of everyone who knew him.
Paul was the devoted and beloved husband of Marie (Sannella) Forti. He was the loving father of Christine Forti of Somerville, Cheryl Sheldon & her late husband Timothy of Burlington, and Michele Shields & her husband Kyle of Burlington. He was the proud grandfather of Paige, Kayla & Olivia Sheldon, Kyle & Bryan Shields, and Johnathan & Erika Cochran. He was the brother of Jean Scioli & her husband Samuel of Brewster, Sandra Jewell of Tewksbury, Pauline Giles & her husband Skippy of Westford and the late Patricia Forti, and brother-in-law of Ken & Bern Christopher of Medford and John & Maureen Sannella of Stoneham. Dear friend and family member Joan O’Rourke of Somerville.
Visiting hours will be held at the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128/95 Woburn side) on Thursday, March 7 from 4-8 p.m. Funeral from the Funeral Home on Friday, March 8 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m. Burial to follow in Pine Haven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in Paul’s memory may be made to the Exceptional Children’s Fund c/o Knights of Columbus, PO Box 25, Burlington, MA 01803 For directions, obituary & online guestbook see www.sullivanfuneralhome.net & www.stmargaretburlington.org
Family Remembance by Christine Forti
Dearest family members and friends,
Thank you all for coming today to honor the life of my father, Paul Forti. As so many of you know, he was a very special person, who is deeply loved by so many. Our dad was a very strong and admirable man, and fought his illness for the last two years, not with self-pity, but with bravery and optimism. Fortunately, this time with him gave us the opportunity to tell him how we felt about him and to enjoy every moment together. Recently, our family members wrote letters to our Dad and Papa and we thought it would be best to honor our dad today by sharing with you a assemblage of those letters and memories, so you can see our dad through the eyes of his family, who loved him so dearly.
Dear Dad from his daughters,
How will we ever go on without you? You have been the best father we could hope for, one that so few other men can measure up to. You have been a pillar of strength for our family. You have led by example throughout your life, always knowing just the right thing to say to make someone feel comfortable, understood and loved. Your positive outlook and zest for life has made a lasting impression on all those that know you, and has allowed you to lift the spirit of others in times of need. You have been a dedicated and devoted husband to Mom for 58 years. Throughout your years together you enjoyed playing cards, bowling, traveling to local casinos and vacationing in Naples, Florida. We’ll always remember how you both worked together to build a happy home for us, with Mom always providing the best home cooked meals and ironing your shirts to perfection, while you tended to the outside of the house and your perfectly manicured yard and garden.
Some of our fondest memories include when we were young and you hosted card games at the house and the next morning it was a race to get up first, so we could gather all the money that happened to “fall” on the floor. When asked how you did, you always won the same amount – a dollar three eighty. We never really knew if that was a win or a loss, even to this day.
We remember our Sunday drives to visit relatives, or just to get out. Sometimes those drives ended with a trip to Friendly’s or Kimball Farm, when a family of five could get ice cream cones for less than $5 – and you were sure to tell us to bring back the change, after all they didn’t have groupon or restaurant.com back then.
We loved working on projects with you – putting a roof on the garage or designing the patio out back. You never dismissed our ideas or found us to be a bother. You showed genuine interest, and made sure you gave us credit for the final design.
You taught us to always try to fix something rather than throw it out. You were a self-taught handy man who didn’t shy away from any type of project. We loved it when you and Mom would come to our house and we would have some crappy job for you to do, like putting in a dishwasher, fixing a leaky toilet or getting a squirrel out of the fireplace. Something always needed to be done and you showed up with a smile.
You always had a great sense of humor. You were never insulted by the silly nicknames people gave you in jest over the years. Whether it was being called Guido, Chicken Legs, Uncle Woos, Meatball or the Mayor of Samoset, you welcomed the banter and the love that was behind it.
We’ll never forget all of the fun times we had with the Travs, Riccios, Gallaghers and so many others – New Year’s Eve parties, cookouts, special occasions and weddings. To this day, we’ll never know how you stayed up until 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning on Saturday nights or on those special occasions…. None of your daughters got that “late night” gene that you and Mom had back then.
You were always there to encourage us. You wanted us to be educated, independent, happy and able to take care of ourselves. You showed us how to do quick math in our heads, how to buy a car, purchase real estate, invest our money in the stock market and save for the future. You wanted us to be finically savvy and secure. You also taught us how to mow the lawn, clean the gutters, change a flat tire and check the oil, and we’ve often kidded over the years about how you must have thought you had 3 boys instead of 3 girls. Including when you shared your love for fishing with us, and showed us how to search for night crawlers and put a worm on a hook.
You welcomed our husbands, Kyle and Timmy, into the family with open arms and loved them as sons. You treated our dear friend Joannie as a daughter.
Our family will always be grateful that you discovered Lake Winnipesaukee and had the vision for owning a vacation home. It is here where you and Mom worked together to create many fun family memories How lucky we were to have our own, “Captain Papa”, showing us a whole new way to enjoy the lake, boating, tubing, anchoring at a sand bar, floating in the middle of the lake and feeling stress free. We will always remember and cherish the quality time with you and Mom on Lake Winnipesaukee. You and your legacy will live on within all of us for many generations to come, as we continue to spend time at Samoset, making more memories together but none of them quite as vivid without you there with us.
Dear Papa from his granddaughters,
When we think about how incredible a person you are, one of the first things that comes to mind is how you are treated at Samoset. Whether you were walking to the clubhouse on Sunday morning for coffee and donuts, or making the dreaded climb up the hill after a long day on the boat (which you always seemed to finish with more strength than the rest of us), you always stopped to say hi to everyone. A quick hello and wave could turn into an hour long conversation just like that. You put so much into your relationships and it showed through the way people’s faces lit up when they saw you and the hours you spent talking with all of Samoset
. In case it isn’t already clear, we couldn’t be more proud to be your granddaughters. Whenever we walk through Samoset and hear someone refer to us as “Paul’s grandkids”, we smile ear to ear. We couldn’t be happier to have this title.
Another one of our favorite memories with you is a tradition that you started with your daughters – your underarm drills! These underarm drills truly are more terrorizing then they even sound, but they always brought out a huge laugh and weirdly enough, we started to look forward to the tradition.
Dear Papa from his grandsons,
You have taught us how to be well-respected men. Throughout our lives, we have always looked up to you and tried to emulate the person that you are. You are our hero and we hope one day that we can be half the man you are. We still haven’t figured out how to hit the ball straight off the tee 100% of the time like you, but eventually we will get there. Hopefully one day we will be able to win as much as you on the golf course.
As one of his grandsons recalls, “Once when I was younger I left New Hampshire with my mom to go back home. Once I got home I was a mess. I wanted to be with Papa. I remember balling my eyes out on the bay window looking at the road just begging to go back to New Hampshire so I can be with Papa. I absolutely did not want to be back at home. I wanted to be with you.”
His other grandson writes “I always wanted to be like you, Papa. I will never forget the time that I dressed up in my army uniform as a young boy. That uniform was topped off with your actual army cap from when you served. I’m pretty sure there is a picture floating around somewhere of me, with the biggest, happiest smile on my face, because in that moment, I felt as if I were you!”
In closing from all of us
Papa, we want to thank you for being you. We would not be where we are today without you. You have always been our #1 fan. You have always believed in us. Thank you for all the love, fun times, and everything that you have given to our family.
There is really so much more to be said and yet it will never be enough. We could never adequately express to you what you have meant to us. Our lives without you will never be the same. We will miss your laughter, your voice, your intelligence, your spirit, your love of life, and your hugs and kisses. We promise to take good care of Mom, and good care of each other, as you have done with all of those who have been important to you throughout life. And when we are in doubt or faced with a difficult situation, we will ask ourselves “what would Dad do” and follow your lead once again.
Dad, when you arrive in heaven, be sure to raise a glass and have “a little taste” as we will be doing so in your honor here on earth for many years to come. Thank you for being the best husband, father, Papa, brother, uncle and friend that anyone could ask for.
We love you, cherish you, and will have you in our hearts forever.
Edward V. Sullivan
43 Winn Street
Burlington, MA 01803
Ph: (781) 272-0050