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Billie Ray Fortenberry


Billie Ray Fortenberry
July 16, 1948 – Jan. 11, 2024
Master Sergeant Billie Ray Fortenberry was born in Tylertown to the late Ellis and Margariette Fortenberry on July 16, 1948. He died Jan. 11, 2024.
He was raised in the Mount Moriah community and was a member of Magee’s Hill from his youth. He attended J.J. Gulledge High School and graduated in 1967. He was joined in marriage with Mary Ruth Carr in 1970 and to this union three sons were born: Alonzo, Tavel, and LaBoris. In the mid-90’s, the Fortenberry’s welcomed twin girls into their home and family, Samantha and Sabrina.
Fortenberry was drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1968 and served his country for over 30 years. During his time in the military, he completed tours in Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Saudi Arabia. He was the recipient of several awards; including: a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was an Agent Orange and an RPG mine detonation survivor and served as APC First Sergeant. He retired from the military in 2002, but he was never far from it, serving as the president of the Southwestern Veterans Assn. Nonprofit for many years.
In addition to Billie Ray’s military service, he has worked as maintenance technician for Haspel’s, Ingalls Shipyard, and Sanderson Farms. He was sheriff’s deputy for Walthall County for nearly a decade. He was also self-employed as a carpenter and grounds keeper for many years. He was an avid fisherman, hunter, and farmer.
Master Sergeant Billie Ray was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 49 years; his parents; and a brother: Burnis Fortenberry. Survivors are three sons: Alonzo (Servia) Fortenberry, Tavel (Denise) Fortenberry both of McComb, and LaBoris (Kywanda) Fortenberry of Houston, TX; two daughters: Samantha Fortenberry of Tylertown, and Sabrina Fortenberry of Atlanta, GA; 12 grandchildren: DeCarloe, Malcolm, Raven, Ariel, Monique, Yasmine, Edward, TaQuie, Kayla, KaBreya, Nakhiya, and Lakaiden; four great-grandchildren; one brother: Ananias Fortenberry; two sisters: Elgena Rodgers and Dora Hodges; a special sister-in-law: Evangelist Luila (Charles) Shields; a Godson, Charles Jackson; a close great-nephew: KJ Carr.
Funeral services were Jan. 20, 2024, at First Apostolic Church, Mccomb, pastor Eric Brister officiating and rendering the eulogy, interment at Tylertown Cemetery #2.
Washington Funeral Service was in charge of the arrangements.

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