James C. Fortson

Dr. James C. Fortson, of Athens, GA, died on 7 January 2009. He was 76 years old. He was born on 12 September 1932 in Fortson, GA, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. Luther G. Fortson. He received a SecNav appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy while serving as an ETSN in the Navy, entering the Academy with the Class of 1956. He was a member of the 23rd Company until his resignation near the end of his Plebe Year.


Dr. Fortson’s long career with the University of Georgia began in 1954 after receiving a PhD in banking and finance from that institution. He served on the faculty and staff at UGA for more than 40 years. Prior to completing his doctoral work, Dr. Fortson was named the first director of administrative computing at UGA in 1960 and he designed and taught the university’s first course in computer science. He has been widely described as one of the “Founding Fathers of Modern Computing in the South.” As a professor, Dr. Fortson occupied the Union Camp Professor of Forestry Chair and served as interim dean of the Wornell School of Forest Resources. On a number of occasions, Dr. Fortson was named Professor of the Year in both the Terry School of Business and the Wornell School of Forestry at UGA.As a consultant, he served as regional economist for the Atlanta office of the Comptroller of the Currency.


Dr. Fortson is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Carolyn; three children, Phil Fortson of Charlottesville, VA, Brian Fortson of Athens, GA, and Lynne Fortson Milner of Pretoria, South Africa; four grandchildren; nephews, Dr. Mark Fortson of Fortson, GA, and Dr. William Fortson of  Marietta, GA; and niece, Rebecca Fortson Young of Bailey, CO. Funeral services were held on 12 January 2009 at the Milledge Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, GA, followed by interment in the family plot at the Getzen Memorial Baptist Church Cemetery in Fortson, GA.

The Fortson Family