Wesley Robert Fortney 1973 – 2019

5 months, 2 weeks ago 156
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

How does a father say goodbye to a much loved son?  Wesley leaves a wife, Rhonda Lee Fortney,  a son, Elijah Pierce Fortney and a daughter Abigail Brooklyn Fortney.  A brother William Scott Fortney, Diane Fortney and a sister Catherine Anne Moore, and Clint Moore.  His mother Sherelene Scott Fortney and myself, William Glenn Fortney.  He also leaves a large host of friends and family who have been sending messages from near and far away, expressing their love for him and our family.

 

This is not an obituary, Wes simply moved to a new address.  When my children were younger I told them when they once asked about when I was going to die, when a  friends parent passed, I  explained it this way; ” You guys know I go on trips and I’m gone for a while and then I come home, you know I’m somewhere, just not here. Well someday I will go on a long trip and I won’t come back here, but I will be at a place that you will come to and see me later.”  That comforted them then and it comforts me now, Wes is at a place where he is safe, not in pain and filled with peace and joy, and someday, I will go to where he is and be with him again, and this time to never be seperated again.

 

I shot thousands of photographs of my three precious children.  Here are just a few of my favorite images of Wes.

 

 

This angelic image of Wesley and Catherine at the lake has always been one of my favorites!  They loved each other so much.

 

 

Only a week ago Wesley’s brother Scott, who he always called his “hero in life” , came up from Florida to give his stem cells to Wes  in this battle against Lymphoma.  They had three great days together in the hospital to just really enjoy each other, Wes told me it was one of the greatest times of his life.

 

 

One of my all time favorite images is of Wes and Sherelene standing on top of Mount LaConte, I’m sure this is the kind of beauty he is enjoying today, look at those smiles! No, I didn’t climb Mount LaConte, a fellow hiker shot this image, but I love this image so much.

 

 

Before the 911 attacks Wes and I traveled 123,000 miles over 14 months and photographed from and ultra Light airplane for our book, America From 500 Feet.  Even though the book was a run away best seller, the real treasure was that 14 months I spent with Wes!  I will hold on to those memories for the rest of my life. Thank you son for that gift.

 

 

This was our last photograph made as a family just last week.  Wes was doing great and we were all so happy to be with him.  Left to right, myself, Rhonda, Cassidy, Wes Scott, Sherelene and Catherine.

 

Yesterday morning at 5:30 am when starting a bag of platlates Wes coded and was 40 minutes with out a heartbeat.  The medical team made heroic efforts to bring him back but in the late afternoon he simply went to sleep and went on to be with his Lord.  His suffering was over, our was beginning.

 

Wesley was a warm caring man, a great father and husband, a wonderful brother and son.  He touched countless peoples lives and was always thinking of others needs.  He cried everytime he lost a friend, and now we are crying at his loss. He will never be forgotten by any of us, and if you have made peace with your God, I know he will be at the gates to greet you when you arrive, that’s just who he was and is.

 

In Loving Memory,

 

Your earthly father

 

 

Prolog:  No parent should ever have to loose a child.  The saving grace for Sherelene and me was that we know where he is now and are greatly comforted to know he is truly with our Lord.  You know what is coming next, if you are not sure if you will ever meet Wesley there, you can make sure you do!  Talk to a pastor, or call me, or get on your knees and ask God to give you that assurance, I know that is what Wesley wanted, for everyone he met, to know the Lord as he did.

156 Responses

  1. Craig Coupland says:

    Praying that God takes all of you through this time of sorrow, but I rejoice that Wes is home with Jesus. I love your story about going on a long trip.

  2. David Berry says:

    Bill, So sorry to hear of your loss – Our prayers are with you and your family!

  3. Bill, sorry for your loss.

  4. Steve Kubik says:

    Bill, so sorry to hear about your loss.

  5. Becky Baker says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss and praying for you all.

  6. Tom Pope says:

    Bill and Sherelene my heart is broken for you and your family. Your in my heart and prayers always.

  7. Jayne Head says:

    Bill Glenn,
    This is a beautiful tribute to Wesley and the life he lived. We are blessed on this earth to have our children but we are selfish in wishing them back once gone. I give you and Sherelene credit in knowing that he is indeed a better place and looking forward to joining him one day. My prayers are for the pain to ease, strength to endure, and comfort in knowing that yes, one day you all will be together again and will have the most fantastic photo opportunity from the great beyond.

    Sincerely,
    Jayne Blanton Head

  8. Jerry Reece says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Jerry Reece

  9. Teri Harrell says:

    A Father’s words like no others. Our thoughts and prayers are with you nd your precious family. I will always think of him as the little boy I once knew.

  10. Judy Schmitt says:

    Am so, so sorry! We loved Wes dearly! You gave a wonderful tribute to Wes, the kind of man he was!
    My prayers for you and all his family!

  11. Terry Disney says:

    Bill Glenn,
    Phil and I were so sorry to hear this news. We know your family’s loss is great, but Wesley’s celebration with his Lord and Savior is far greater!
    May the Lord give each member of your family the peace and strength you need now and in the days to come.

    With much love,
    Phil and Terry

  12. Debbie Bullen says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Bill Glenn, thankful for God promise of our heavenly home. I’m happy to say I will see Wesley again.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Wesley at Homer and Terri’s houseboat and remember him as a very nice guy who enjoyed life.
    I have your autographed book which I gave to my Daddy for Father’s Day the year it came out. My daddy passed away 4 years ago this month, but there again, I have the promise and know he’s in heaven and we shall be together again. We sat with Daddy many times and enjoyed your photos so much.
    May God wrap His arms around all of you and give you comfort and peace.

  13. Vicki Baker says:

    What beautiful words. Wes was a sweetheart. Ted and I send many prayers of comfort to you and your family. Ted (Bryant) loved Wes like his own. I, myself lost my son 12 years ago and I know the pain you are feeling. Ted and I are sending our prayers to all

  14. Karen Stephens says:

    What a beautiful and strong testimony to the life of your son, Wesley. He was such a great child and friend to Mark Scott all those years ago. I am so glad they maintained their friendship and I am sure Wesley will be missed by many of his friends. Such a courageous battle – the victory is his. Prayers for all of you as your journey without Wesley begins – but with the sweet assurance of joining him again!

  15. James S Williamson says:

    Bill Glen I am so sorry my Friend . Please pass on to Sherelene and all the family that our Love and Prayers are with You and all The family . Again I am so sorry to hear but your words are true , No more Pain and No more sorrow for Your dear son. Your Friend, Scotty

  16. John McNiel says:

    Bill Glenn, so very sorry. Thoughts & prayers coming your way.

  17. Billie Swanner says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your amazing son!! I met Wes last spring and soon fell in love with him and his family. Richie, my husband, and Wes knew each other from college and he always spoke so highly of him. Our daughters became instant friends and Emerson enjoyed her time with Abby this summer. We are so saddened by your loss, Wes was so optimistic and full of life. We are continuing to pray for peace and comfort for your family. We love them very much.

  18. Jesse E Cookston says:

    So sorry to hear the sad news about Wes. We graduated together. Prayers for all of the family. He will be missed.

  19. Diane Mcglothin Everett says:

    Bill Glenn, My heart breaks for you. On May 17th my son will be gone 1 year he didn’t live to get his liver transplant. I can feel what you are going through. Just know he won’t suffer anymore and that he is with our lord. Remember all those wonderful memories. You are in my prayers. Diane Mcglothin Everett

  20. Kelly Ramey says:

    The memory I’ll share of Wes will be a familiar one if you knew him as a kid. What I’ll always remember is his freckled face, smile beaming, racing through our neighborhood on his Honda. We were so lucky to grow up in that perfect time right before all the dangerous things we loved became unacceptable. Rest Easy Wes.

  21. Molli McDaniel says:

    Beautifully written. It was a pleasure to know Wesley. I’m am comforted knowing he and my brother, Marc, are together again. Prayers and love to you and family.

  22. Stephanie Faulkner Gilbert says:

    What an awesome tribute to an awesome guy, I have
    Known Wes my whole life, Catherine is one of my dear friends
    And my brother Stephen Faulkner. Stephen loved Wes
    So much and is completely heart broken as we all are
    we know that he is in much happier place free from his
    pain and suffering but it’s still hard to let people you
    love and care about go. Please everyone lift this
    precious family up in prayers they have some days ahead.

  23. John Begley says:

    Wes was like a brother to me and so many other of his friends. This is heart breaking for his entire family. Your tribute was beautiful and captured his life and personality perfectly.

  24. Sharon Miller says:

    So very sorry to hear this. Losing a child is one of most devastating things that can happen to a family. Losing Stacy changed us forever. Prayers for comfort and peace during this time of great sorrow. You all will have my continued prayers always.

  25. Mike Forester says:

    So sorry for your loss. Prayers for comfort and strength for the family. God bless!

  26. Melinda says:

    I knew Wes years ago. Truly one of the most genuine kind caring people I have ever known.

  27. Aaron Schuhmann says:

    So sorry to hear of Wesley’s passing. He was a wonderful person and friend. He will truly be missed. Praying for your whole family!

  28. Sheila says:

    Words are so hard to find right now… Saying I am so sorry just doesn’t seem to be enough…. You ALL are in my thoughts and prayers… Wesley was one very special young man and the world will be short this with his passing.

  29. Becky Rogers says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of this loss. Our family will be praying for your family as you deal with the grief.

  30. Barbara Kay Morgan says:

    I worked with Wes at the KY Transportation Cabinet in Manchester. Wes was such a great person and always thought of others. The last few days I worked Wes came and prayed with me for my mom and dad and family. My mom is sick and has been in the hospital for over a year. I will never forget Wes praying with me and talking to me. He had been sick and hadn’t been back to work long. He came to tell me that his results came back good at that time. Before he left he asked me if I would care if he prayed with me. He was such a great person. Showing God’s love and spreading his light and praying with me. I will truly miss him as I know everyone that knew him and worked with him will. I will be praying for you and all of his family. This was a great tribute to Wes.

  31. Regina Upchurch says:

    I am so sorry to hear of his passing, he was a great man. I’ll be praying for the whole family.

  32. Wayne Bennett Jr says:

    So sorry to hear about Wes! Prayers Bill and Shirlene and to the rest of your family.

  33. Jenny Smithers Hamilton says:

    Bill and Sherlene , I was so sorry to heard of your loss. May God continue to give you and your family the peace that only He can give.

  34. Diane Turner says:

    So sorry to hear this very sad news. I remember that precious, beautiful boy from days at Central Primary. He has always been special! Praying for all!!!!

  35. Ellen Petrey says:

    What a beautiful tribute of your love and faith regarding Wesley. I have such fond memories of him. Our children were all such good friends growing up. Continue to cherish your sweet memories and rest in the assurance that he is with our Lord and Savior. Give my love to your family and prayers for you all during the days to follow.

  36. Annitra Walters Goble says:

    My condolences to you and family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. God Bless.

  37. Casey Malone says:

    MayJehovah Shalom continue to give all of you peace that surpasses understanding. Linda and I grieve with you. I looked at your and Wes’ book today and remembered fondly spending time with both of you in the great Southwest.

  38. Beverly Babbage Sharp says:

    Beautiful tribute to your son. So sorry for your loss. God bless you and your family.

  39. I am sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing this beautiful tribute.

  40. Johnny Lee Helton says:

    Bill Glenn , I am so sorry for the lose of your son, my prayers are for you and your family that our Lord would hold you in his arms and give you comford through this time, you will be with him again

  41. Joe Pennington says:

    Beautiful words Bill. He was truly one of a kind. I’m heartbroken but know that we will see him again. My prayers and love to you all.

  42. Angel Farmer-Stevens says:

    I remember going to church when I was little with all of you. Wes always has a smile on his face!
    I’ve seen him at sporting events around town and he still had that smile! Always going out of his way to say Hello. Such a nice man. So sad to hear of his passing. Love and prayers.

    Angel Farmer-Stevens

  43. Darrell Gilbert says:

    Bill, so sorry to here of your loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  44. Carol Garms says:

    Bill and Sherelene, What a wonderful tribute to Wesley. He was such a nice young man growing up in the neighborhood. I am so sorry for your loss. I pray God holds you all close in this most difficult time in your lives.

  45. Darryl "Yardmaster" Baker says:

    On the night before Wes left to start his treatment, I was out in the yard about 1am just enjoying the peace and quiet of our neighborhood. Wes was sitting on his back patio, in the dark, and decided to strike up a conversation with me. I had no idea he was there and it startled me pretty good. We talked and joked about everyday things. He shared with me that he was going the next day to start his treatment. We talked like it was a routine doctors visit. And then, as always, we did the “man hug” and told each other “I love you brother”, and parted ways. I had no idea I may never see him on this earth again. He didn’t seem worried, so neither was I. I would be totally heartbroken if I didn’t know the same Jesus that Wes knows. The conversation of Jesus and our beliefs were pretty common between Rhonda, Wes and I. So Bill, your tribute to your son was spot on. My heart breaks for you and your family. But I know we will all see Wes again. Thanks for loaning me your son to be my neighbor.

  46. Margaret Wheeler says:

    Bill. . . Wendell and I were so saddened to see this news. Just wanted to let you know that you are and will be in our thoughts and prayers. May God envelop you and all of your family in His precious peace. You all are loved!

  47. Jennifer Cassim Farmer says:

    My prayers for peace, comfort & understanding are for each of you. Only God can comfort you until you meet again. What a glorious day that will be! Joshua 1:9

  48. Sherrie. Sasser says:

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I’ll keep you in my prayers for the days and months ahead.

  49. Mary Collins says:

    Bill Glenn and family,
    Knowing that Wes is with his Lord is comforting. It is so hard to give back a child that we are loaned is very difficult for us left here on earth. But knowing where he has gone to live forever and that you all will see him again will help you all thru this difficult time. You are in my prayers
    I love the way you have shared him with us. He had to be an amazing young man, he has had wonderful parents as his role models. You have shown him what is most important , his relationship with his heavenly father.
    Praying for each of you to find comfort and strength from God .
    Mary Bertha

  50. Patrick S. McClure says:

    Bill:
    My thoughts and heart and soul have been with you for the last 24 hours. I wasn’t going to say or write anything until you all did other than a few phone calls with old friends. Wes was an enigma. Hippie rockstar folk singing country dancing hoop hollering hiking and flying whirlwind of emotions. But he wore his heart on his sleeve, and a Cross on his heart. Even when we were up to no good Wes never forgot the cross. I know as we grew older and he became a Dad it became more like a ladder than an anchor, but it was there for him and in him on either side of the water. The years I lived with him meant almost as much to me as the months we spent talking when my Dad was diagnosed with the same cancer and Wes was in remission. He gave me hope then, even through my tears and ultimately my loss. Today through your beautiful homage he gives me hope now, even through my tears. I will pray every day for you and Sherelene. I know she is no doubt destroyed; I know Scott aches. Rhonda, I just can’t imagine. The kids, who started the week with thoughts of birthdays and Mother’s days, I will think of them often and pray. I don’t know that I have ever seen you mad or even (really) upset. I had no idea how your usually jolly self would respond to this. I should have known: with character, and color, and light, and shades of images not yet seen. I love you guys. – Patrick

  51. Velma Smith Patterson says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your son. Praying for all of the family as you go through these next few days. I pray that God comforts each of your hearts until the day that you are reunited again.

  52. Dan Lawson says:

    Bill, very sorry to hear about Wesley. I cannot imagine the pain you are suffering right now, or the peace you are experiencing. Jesus said, “ in this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. ” he also said that His grace was sufficient for us. I know that you are experiencing that now. What a precious Savior we have. Jesus has not brought you this far to drop you now. I will be praying for you and your family to experience God in a more intimate way.
    I love you my brother, I am here for you. Dan Lawson

  53. Kelli Paul says:

    I am truly blessed to have know Wes. He was such a sweet soul. Prayers for you all in this difficult time.

  54. Barney Tong says:

    Bill and your precious family,

    I know what it’s like to lose a son. I know you will cherish the time you had with him as I do. He will be missed but never forgotten. I did not know Wes. Will you please introduce me to him when we get to our final, forever home?

    God bless you and your family Bill,

    With love,

    Barney Tong

  55. Fred Oakes says:

    We have you guys in our prayers

  56. Terry Dotson says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. So sorry for your lose.

  57. Howard Turner says:

    Bill

    Sorry for your loss. Praying that God will comfort you and your family.

  58. Betty Shekleton says:

    Such a wonderful tribute to Wesley. I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing, but your words quickly changed my view to rejoicing. Wesley is now with his Heavenly Father. I am praying for you, Sherelene and the rest of your family during this most difficult time.

  59. Johnny Boyd says:

    Bill, words can’t heal any of the hurt you and your family are feeling during this time of loss. I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  60. Bill Fortney says:

    Thank all of you for your kind and wonderful comments about Wes.

  61. Amanda Bradley says:

    I am rejoicing at the promises our Lord and Savior give us, that we will have a host of family and loved ones to greet us when we get to Heaven!! My heart is grieving with Rhonda and the kids and for the rest of your family. I know Wes has left a big hole and I pray God gives you all the comfort and peace to fill it.

    — Amanda Bradley (Central Baptist Church, Corbin, KY)

  62. George Flanagan says:

    Bill,

    It is with sadness I read your blog this morning and to learn of Wes and his home going. Your blog was so beautifully written with the tender heart of a father. Your love for your son was very evident but your assurance of where Wes is now was more evident.

    Thank you for sharing your love and the news of Wesley’s home going. Bill you are all in my thoughts and prayers and it is my prayer that you will sense the peace and guidance of our Lord as you navigate the next days and weeks.

    Your brother in Christ,

    George Flanagan

  63. Donna says:

    My heart breaks for this profound loss. I am so very sorry and pray for your comfort. His light is now shining in another world.

  64. Denise Dunstan - Australia says:

    At peace with the Lord. My thoughts and prayers to the families.

  65. Dear Bill,
    Your thoughtful, hope-filled words about your son Wes are truly moving!
    Thank you and we will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

    So Fondly,
    Pam Stukenborg

  66. Skip Sickler says:

    So sorry to hear the news. Know Bill, you and your entire family are in my thoughts and prayers. I realize your great faith will see you through these sad times and you will one day be reunited. Much love, Skip

  67. Emanuel Landry says:

    Bill , I am so sorry to hear of your family’s lost! I am praying for you and ur family! May the Lord be with you’ll ! Hope some day to meet you in the Smoky Mountain! I follow your great work and love it!
    Prayers!
    Emanuel

  68. Joshua.hampton3@unionky.edu says:

    Bill,

    Truly well put. I am so happy I got to know the fortneys from our times at church to you showing me around your place. You all have truly touched my heart and I will never forget any of you, especially Wes.

    Love,

    Wreck it ralph

  69. Mickey Messer says:

    Wesley was one of the neighborhood kids my daughter grew up with. From t-ball to going through school with . He was nothing but polite. Broke my heart when Elijah rode his bicycle up to our house to let us know of Wesley’s passing . Prayers for all the family.

  70. Sharon Beaumont Hensley says:

    I couldn’t hold back the tears thinking about your
    family’s loss. Your family has always been close to
    our hearts. Your tribute to Wes was truly beautiful.
    You have such a loving family and I was be praying
    for you all

  71. Darrin Bruck says:

    Tracy and I got to spend a few hours with he and Rhonda Friday afternoon at UK. Will miss him. He was a good friend. Prayers & love for entire family

  72. Debbie & Bret Kuss says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your son and our Lord Jesus! I know you’ll be going through many difficult days ahead. Bret and I will be praying for you and the entire family that the comfort of Jesus will get you through one day at a time, and that you will continue to rejoice that you will all be reunited one day.

  73. Missy Foley and family says:

    So sorry to hear of coach Wes’s passing. He will be dearly missed by all of those he met. Love and prayers to Rhonda and the family.

  74. Margaret Yost says:

    Bob and I are saddened by the news of you son, Wesley. Our thoughts and prayers are
    with you and the family.

  75. Alisha says:

    Just a great tribute to an amazing man. Wesley was always so loving, caring and supportive of his family and friends, he will be terribly missed. Our family will miss most his warm hugs and contagious smile and zest for life. Sending love and prayers.

  76. Lynn Miller says:

    What a lovely tribute to a very special person. Your faith,family and memories will help you be there for Wesk family. You and your family are in my prayers.

    Lynn Miller

  77. Michael Drumgool says:

    Truly sorry for your earthly loss. Praying peace and comfort over you and your family. Rejoicing in the fact that Wes is worshiping with Jesus! Wonderful words that you wrote Bill. God bless,

  78. Rhonda Taylor says:

    What a Beautiful tribute to your son… Wes will be greatly missed by all. He was such a kind soul and loved everyone. … blessed to have seen him not long ago and give him big hug. Wes always had a smile on his face even when he didn’t feel like it. I know his buddy Trae was there to welcome him home! See you again in Heaven my dear friend…

  79. Gary Scaife says:

    Bill, so sorry for you loss. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to lose a child. Our prayers will be with you and your family.

  80. Karen Carnes says:

    So sorry for your loss. Hope knowing that he is with God can give you some peace until you meet again. Prayers for you and your entire family.

  81. Lynn McArthur says:

    Wes has been a dear friend since I transferred schools in 6th grade. Being raised by two terrific, Godly parents was apparent by the way Wes treated all with kindness and respect. I am saddened by his departure but gladdened that he is no longer in pain and is in his heavenly home. Continuing to pray for peace and comfort.

  82. Thelma Shepherd says:

    There are no words to begin to express how sad news this is for your family. I was talking and telling people about your family Tuesday night and today
    .. I just starting talking about your family again… I’ll be praying for comfort and peace. Your words encourage me and I’m gonna make a copy to tell this to my children…We just change our address… God Bless you and your entire family at this time and in the future.

  83. Kathy Metcalfe Bianchi says:

    Your loss breaks my heart. This is too painful to comprehend. Your family will be in my prayers. So very sorry.

  84. Brad Mikel says:

    My dear friend Bill. My heart aches for you, Sherelene and your family. I didn’t know Wes, but
    I’m proud to say that I know his earthly father, and I know that Wes is now with our heavenly Father.
    God bless you all.

    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may the perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in Peace. Amen

  85. Tim Crull says:

    Bill, so sorry to here about Wesley. May God comfort you during this time. You and you’re family will be in my prayers. But as you have said this is not goodbye, but see you later.
    2 Corinthians 1:3-4a Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction

  86. Jack Graham says:

    When Linda and I were in Corbin, shortly after Xmas, we went to the car to leave with you. I stayed back a minute to talk to Wes alone. Yiu( bill) were in the car with Linda and Wes and walked outside, towards the car. He gave me a huge hug. His final words to me were “ Thanks for taking care of Dad”…I promised I d do my best. .. and will.
    My love to you all, you know where my heart and mind is…. Some how I bet God has a UK hat on and for once, I would have no problem that!
    Love to all…Jack

    • Bill Fortney says:

      Jack,
      You’ve been an amazing partner and even better friend and brother. You’ve more than kept your promise to Wes, who loved you dearly. We will all miss him, but we will see him again and rejoice in that reunion!

  87. Sharon Adams says:

    Prayers for peace and comfort for you and your family.

  88. Tom and Sharon Ball says:

    Our family sends you our prayers at this time of Wes’ passing. He was such a dear, dear young man.
    Always know you were blessed with an incredible human being as your son, husband, father, and brother. Be very proud of him and the legacy he leaves behind. He will be sadly missed by so many, but take comfort in knowing that he is in a better place … pain free and in God’s loving arms.
    You have our family’s prayers at this time of loss. God bless!

  89. Tammy Lacefield says:

    As I came to know Wes, his tender heart and generous spirit revealed itself in every action. What a rare and beautiful quality. Then I came to know you and Sherelene and it was clear where Wes received his warmth and genuine love for others. Wes was a blessing to our family through Jim’s illness and I will forever be grateful for his friendship. Sending continued prayers for peace and comfort to you and your family.

  90. Dennis Mook says:

    I am so saddened by Wes’s passing. My sadness, however, can never be compared to yours. I feel such a strong Christian connection to you and your family. I am so sorry. God Bless you and your family. Prayers.

  91. Dudley Hawthorne says:

    Bill
    So sorry for you and your families loss. As you say I am sure he is looking down on everyone and smiling while he watches over you. Thoughts are with you and your family.

  92. Andi Hoover says:

    Bill, our hearts go out to you and Sherelene, and all the family during this time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this beautiful tribute to your son, and the reassurance that he simply has …changed addresses!! Please take care and know that all the Scott family relatives and cousins love you all and are praying for your peace and comfort…….Andi and David Hoover

  93. Stan Burman says:

    Bill and Sherelene I am so deeply sorry about Wes. He was loved. There are tears in Arizona.

  94. Phillip Beaumont says:

    I have many fond memories of Wes while growing up in our neighborhood. My youth spent running the woods and playing in the creek with Wes, Scott and Catherine will always be unforgettable. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know the man Wes had become. I am heartbroken for the loss of him. You will always be remembered by me. Bill, my condolences to you Sherelene and family.

  95. Janel Brown says:

    Dear Bill,
    I am so very sorry. I cannot imagine the loss you and your family are feeling. I am keeping all of you close to my heart!

  96. Rick and Pamala May and Family says:

    Our condolences and prayers are with your family during this great loss!

  97. Cheri Herron says:

    So sorry for your loss.
    You and your family are in my prayers.

    I didn’t know Wes but I remember you fondly from my time in Appalachian Photo Society.

  98. David Baker says:

    Bill, Sherelene, and family I cannot begin to fathom the loss your family has endured. Be assured my thoughts and prayers are with your family tonight and lonesome nights to follow.

  99. Gretchen Bruner says:

    I am so very sorry for your family’s loss, I have nothing but fond memories of Wes. He was such a great guy. The picture of Catherine & Wes at the lake was always one of my favorites also, that was one of my favorite things about coming to Catherine’s was looking at all the beautiful pictures and watching the slide shows on the screen. Such a wonderful, loving family, please know you all are in my prayers! ❤️
    Gretchen “White” Bruner

  100. Mike Williams says:

    Bill know that our prayers are with you, Sherelene, and all of your family.

  101. Charles Aiken says:

    Bill and family, I have prayed daily for you and your family for years now, ever since I first ran across your testimony and love for our Lord. Your love for the Lord has always been greater than your love for photography. My heart aches for each of you during this time. Your love for each other and the Lord will sustain you backed by so many others prays and support. The lyrics from Raise A Hallelujah ring true and through this storm He will get the Glory:

    I raise a hallelujah, with everything inside of me
    I raise a hallelujah, I will watch the darkness flee
    I raise a hallelujah, in the middle of the mystery
    I raise a hallelujah, fear you lost your hold on me!

    I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
    Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
    Up from the ashes, hope will arise
    Death is defeated, the King is alive!

  102. Laura Rogers says:

    Bill, Sorry for your loss. Praying for you all at this time. If you need Ralph or I give us a call

  103. Sandra Lester says:

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful words and photos. Sending love and prayers to you and your family, Bill.

  104. Mark Scully says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I had the blessing of being a brother in Christ with Wes for a few years. One of the first conversations we had was about his great adventure with his Dad. We talked many times about his wonderful memories of their time spent together photographing our world from an ultralight. He was so proud of that and so grateful that God had enabled him to experience that. Wes was always positive and supportive, no matter what he was going through. Wes definitely touched the heart of everyone that knew him and although this time is heart wrenching, the thought that he is up there waiting to welcome us home, is very comforting. Mine and Jamie’s hearts go out to Rhonda and the kids. We love them all. If we can do anything at all, please let us know.

  105. Pete Collins says:

    Jesus wept. So do we… even though we know the grave will not hold, this pain cannot be covered over with simple words. I can only offer to sit in the ashes with you. I love brother, and I wish you didn’t have to feel the sting of this broken existence… but the reunion we be all the more sweeter because of the depth of the longing and love you have. He is not slow in keeping His promises… but the heart aches while waiting for that day. I am praying.

  106. Jon Stratton says:

    Bill, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I am praying for you and your family.

  107. Dear Bill,
    Our roads only briefly crossed at The Great Smokey Moutains Summit a few years ago, you left a big impression, I never knew your son, but having 2 children of my own, I can only half imagine what it’s like to lose one of them….
    strength to you and your family in these difficult days, and in a loss that will always be there, an empty place in your hearts…
    our prayers are with you.
    Koen Vanhaverbeke, Belgium

  108. May God’s grace be with your family during this time of sorrow and celebration of Wes’s life. May God give each of you the strength you’ll need in the days to come and may you feel comfort in our prayers for the family.

  109. Carl says:

    Our loss – Heaven’s gain!!
    During Wes’s last 24 hours I could not get him off my mind. I prayed the Peace/Love of God saturate him! I just couldn’t believe it when it word came to me of his passing – but I am confident he left in God’s peace and love. This old song probably describes Wes today…
    “Oh I want to see Him – look upon His face
    There to sing forever of His amazing Grace
    On the streets of Glory let me lift my voice
    CARES ALL PASSED! – HOME AT LAST! – EVER TO REJOICE!”

  110. Danny Hammac says:

    So sorry to see the Fortney family going through this. You all are in our thoughts and prayers. We only met Wes once but our son Daniel knew him and loved him. He worked with him at Irtec. I’m forever great full for the way you took me into your home and helped me with a photography delimma. Daniel called me this morning heartbroken about his friend. God bless, comfort and keep you all.

    • Korey lear says:

      I loved Wes as a friend! He was always smiling and happy to see me when we were apart. His memory and friendship will be with me forever! Rip my friend until we meet again

  111. Joetta and Ed Gaunt, Courtney and Meghann says:

    Bill and Sherelene, there are just no words to express our sorrow in hearing this sad news about Wes. Everyone should be blessed with knowing such a friendly, exuberant, caring young man. We remember him as a boy whose smile and freckled face would fit as perfectly into a Norman Rockwell painting as it did in the wonderful photographs which you made, and later as a young man… polite, full of personality and positive energy. Our prayers are with you all for comfort, even as you know that you “are” simply in different places, to be reunited again. Much love from our family to all of you.

  112. Bill Ball says:

    Bill, I am so very sorry to hear about Wes. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your wonderful family. Much love to you and yours.

  113. Daniel Hammac says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I had the amazing opportunity to get to know Wes through work. We surveyed together in Tennessee. When they moved back to Kentucky, I went to help him load their truck up, and remember thinking…I know this is someone I’ll always keep in touch with. And we did. It was as if we had hung out the day before whenever I heard from him. He truly loved his family, because he talked about you guys all the time. He always talked about making the book and all the beautiful places he got to see. He adored Rhonda and the kids. He made me appreciate the outdoors more by just stepping back and taking in all that God made. And he always talked about those darn Wildcats! He never hung up the phone without saying “I love you brother” He will be so deeply missed here on earth, but what an amazing gain for Heaven!

  114. Ronnie Watkins says:

    We don’t know each other and I didn’t know your son. This is a beautiful tribute to your son and a great testimony to our Lord’s grace and love. I have one son who will be 28 next month. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15. Prayers for you and your family my brother.

  115. Karen Hutton says:

    So much love to you, Bill. May the light of all that is wrap you and your family in tenderness and healing.

  116. I am so sorry for your loss! I am so thankful that he knew his Savior. May God give each one of you the grace and comfort to go through this difficult time. May God be close to you as you grieve.

  117. Richard Browne says:

    Bill, I am so sorry for your loss. When I hadn’t seen a posting from you for a week or so, I began to worry that something important was occupying your time, and I was thought it might be Wes. I am glad that your entire family was able to be with him, and that your shared faith will reunite you in God’s time. My prayers go out to you, Sherelene, and your family.

  118. Larry stivers says:

    My heart has been broken for 286 weeks. I have no words, just sending prayers and thoughts.

  119. May the Lord receive Wes in loving arms and extend them to you and your family. This is a tremendous loss and my prayers are with you.

    There is no way to replace the hole that has been left in your life. But I will suggest something — that you dedicate the next photographic year to honoring Wes. He can’t be there to celebrate a sunrise or sunset with you but you can share that with others in Wes’ name. Be well and God bless.

  120. Donnie McLain says:

    Tracey and I are so sorry to hear of this. God bless all of you.

  121. Paul Janusz says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Wes. Praying for you and your family.

  122. Martin Z Hull says:

    Beautiful tribute Bill. The whole time I read it – Saint Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer was going through my mind. It is rare to find a church that will sing this prayer because it takes five minutes to sing. There is one part of this prayer that I have never been able to sing or read aloud because I will break up. For you and all the family going through this lost:
    Christ be with me, Christ within me,
    Christ behind me, Christ before me,
    Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
    Christ to comfort and restore me.
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
    Christ in hearts of all that love me,
    Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

    Take care, brother in Christ.

  123. Tom Payne says:

    Bill and Sherelean, my heart and tears go out to you and the rest of your family. Spending time in your home and feeling the love there are still treasured memories. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  124. Mark Sisco says:

    May God’s peace be with you and your family. Every day is a gift from Him, and I’m grateful you were able to relish so many wonderful days making memories with Wesley.

  125. Rodney McKnight says:

    Oh Bill, I’m having a hard time believing what I have just read…I join all of these friends in saying I am am so sorry to hear about Wes…reading all of these messages and your responses, I am overwhelmed by the love your family has for each other and our Lord…and how you still, in this very hard time, continue to remind us that our hope and future and everlasting love is yet to come….thank you my friend for sharing all that you share…you and your family always remind me that the only real important thing in our lives is our relationships..for they are the only thing we get to take with us when we pass from this life….

  126. Dell Morgan says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss; praying for comfort in your grief.

  127. Kurt Felten says:

    Although I did not know him personally, I’ve had the pleasure of gaveling both of his children in AWANA. I love the family and grieve with them .

  128. Vigil Boler says:

    Bill and Sherelene, Was so sad when I read of the passing of Wes. I only knew Wes through the stories that you told about your adventures with him while photographing America from 500 Feet. You can rest assured that he is much higher than that now. I wish I could have known him personally. I pray the Lord will give your family comfort as you go through this difficult time. Love you brother.

  129. Courtney Burgan-Skaggs says:

    Bill & Sherelene,

    I so wanted to stand yesterday and tell you both what a tremendous impact Wesley had on my life, but the lump in my throat and streaming tears just wouldn’t allow it. Wesley was the big brother I never had and one of my best friends. I couldn’t have asked for two better humans in my life…Cat and Wes. He tolerated the countless nights of me sleeping on the couch at their Breckinridge Apartment because I was Catherine’s shadow. He taught me how to hike and enjoy nature…and I in turn introduced him to the musical juxtapositions of John Prine. It was his adventurous spirit that made him say yes when I called the day before NYE 2000 and asked if he wanted to drive non-stop to New Orleans because neither of us had anything else to do. As life takes us all in different directions, we hadn’t spoken much over the last 18 years but I know in my heart that our friendship never failed. I was so happy and hopeful to hear about the Godly man that Wesley had become. You will all be in my prayers as you make your way through this next journey of living life without his physical presence. I know he is watching over with a big smile, playing the guitar and laughing.

    All my love,

    Courtney Burgan-Skaggs (aka Courtney Fortney).

  130. Stephen Howard says:

    Prayers for peace and comfort.

  131. Richard Humphreys says:

    Bill sorry for your loss

  132. Dick Bushmiaer says:

    Bill, so sorry for the loss of your son. No words can help, but know that we are thinking of you and wish you comfort and love. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Dick and Judy Bushmiaer

  133. Bill
    There are no words that I can say to help. I am happy that your faith in God and Jesus is so strong and that will keep you and comfort you.

    I am praying for your Son and your family.

  134. Kaye Cain says:

    Our family were so sorry to learn of your family’s sad loss of Wes. We were your neighbors in Tattersall and our son Gary and Scott were best friends. I saw Scott a few years ago when Jim had heart surgery at Baptist in Jacksonville. We have been living in Florida for over 30 years now but we still remember our Corbin friends and your sweet family especially. Your tribute to Wes was beautiful and, although I know your hearts are broken, your faith is strong and you will see him again. We send our love and prayers. God bless you.

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