We Love You Karen

Karen on her big girl bike

Mama rode off to heaven on Friday April 24, 2009 at the age of 47. Karen was born in Wilmington, DE, the daughter of Louise Bain and the late Herlan Bain . She was a 1980 graduate of William Penn High School and has been a resident of New Castle County all her life. Karen was a Hairdresser for 30 years. She was a member of First State Chapter of H.O.G. where she was Activities Officer. Karen enjoyed travelling, reading, bowling, riding and spending time at the beach. Most importantly Karen’s heart belonged to her family. She loved and cared for her family and especially enjoyed spending time with her grandson Tyler. Karen leaves behind to cherish her memory her loving husband and best friend of 27 years Edward C. Fortner II; her sons Ryan E. Fortner, his fiancée Marissa Massey and their son Tyler R. Fortner of Newark, DE, Justin C. Fortner and Colby B. Fortner both of Newark, DE; her mother Louise Bain of Bear, DE; her brother Roger A. Bain of Bear, DE; and her mother-in-law Clara Fortner. Karen is also survived by a host of other loving family members and all her friends she has made over the years, all of whom called her “Mama”. Karen was also predeceased by her father Herlan Bain, her brother Bruce H. Bain and her father-in-law Edward C. Fortner. Family and friends are invited to Karen’s viewing and to visit with her family on Saturday May 2nd from 3pm to 6pm at BEESON FUNERAL HOME OF NEWARK, 2053 Pulaski Highway, Newark, DE 19702 (Fox Run), (302)453-1900. A funeral service celebrating Karen’s Life will be on Sunday May 3rd at 2 pm at the funeral home, followed by a viewing and visitation with her family. In memory of Karen a contribution may be made to: Motorcycle Accident Victims, M.A.V. www.motorcycleaccidentvictims.org

28 Responses to “We Love You Karen”

  1. When I wished for an end to the grief I have endured this April over the many losses among my Blackstone brothers and sisters, the last thing I wanted was for it to seek out more grief among friends of mine elsewhere. I am deeply saddened to learn of Karen’s passing, and believe me when I tell you that my heart goes out to you and all in First State HOG. At 47, Sister Karen was called home far too soon. From what you’ve written, I assume she went down on her bike, and that makes it hit home especially hard for me. Call it survivor’s guilt.

    On behalf of the Blackstone Valley Chapter, allow me to offer my deepest sympathies for the loss of one who was obviously very dear to you.

    John “Joker” Ciampa
    Webmaster / Road Captain
    Blackstone Valley Chapter, H.O.G.

  2. The love and support I have gotten from my second family has been overwelming. Our sons and I would not have made it this far without all of you. I’m having trouble putting into words how I feel about you all. The HOG family is truely an amazing group. Mama loved being with all of you. The bigger the group, the more she loved it. I truely feel like she took the hit herself to save the rest of us. I can’t explain how the car missed me, but I know she was responsible for saving me. She has taken care of me for 30 years so why would friday have been any different. I don’t know how to live without her. Mysons and my HOG family are so much stronger than I am right now. I love you all so much, and 30 years of memories will keep me going My special ANGEL will watch over all of us from now on. Love to all…..Big Ed

  3. I’m very sorry for the loss of your friend. This is the hardest part of being a rider, is when we lose someone doing what we all love to do, and that’s ride motorcycles. Joker spoke of survivor’s guilt… I guess we all go through a little of that when we here of a fallen rider.

    Big Ed… I know you do not know me, but I will pray for you and your family regardless. As a fellow rider, I will pray for comfort and peace to come to you and your children. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  4. Big Ed,

    I cannot begin to tell you how sorry we all are for your loss. You and your sons have the deepest respect and support of the Ghost Chapter in Stamford, CT.

    Though we only met briefly in Atlantic City we in HOG are an extended family. Our prayers are with you, your family and First State HOG.

    Rob Gilmore
    Assistant Director/Head Road Captain
    Ghost Chapter HOG Stamford, CT

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. I will keep Big Ed and the rest of the family in my thoughts.

  6. When this news sadly reached me, it was devasting to me, but I began to think of all that was present Karen’s Family and her Hog Family both injured and crushed by this tragedy. Ed, my heart aches and cries out to you and your family in this time of sadness, we ALL shall miss her so intensely, and what she brought so naturally to us all in her gifts of love and dedication to all she touched.
    Proud To Be A First State Family Member

    AKA Diesel

  7. Big Ed and Family – Our prayers and thoughts are with you…. We were blessed to only know your angel for a very short time – but we sure did feel like part of the HOG family – in large part because of your Angel, Karen. We’re sad that we lost her and that your Justin was hurt. We prayed on the ride and we will continue to pray…. Thank you for sharing your words – it helps… May our Lord keep Karen in the palm of his hands and may she be blessed to be with her loved ones gone before her, until your family meets again…. We truly believe that she is one of God’s Special Angels and that He needed her more than us….. Please know that we are here for you for anything that we can do! Sincere Love, Immense Blessings & Deep Respect, Steve & Kathie Liounis

  8. Ed, Justin, Colby & Ryan, words alone can convey the feelings of hope, of love and of support we are sending your way. Hope that the pain eases with time, the love we around you have for you, and the support we offer. It has been an extreme pleasure getting to know your loving wife and mother. We can not even imagine the feelings and thoughts wreaking havoc in your hearts and minds, but know there are those around you willing to listen. There is awlays time for “what ifs…and I wish.” Let that time be another day. Dwell on the memories that make your hearts swell with pride, that are filled with laughter, and are abundant in love. Be strong for one another, and when you can not, your extended family will be strong for you.

    With our deepest love and most sincere sympathies,
    Sonya & Vicky Salasky

  9. Ed, when i think of the Fortner family, i can only think of fun and laughter. Karen always made the best of every situation and could bring a smile no matter what was wrong. i was amazed she chased away the rain for our poker run this year. She will always be with us because we won’t forget her. kevin and robin

  10. Our deepest condolences to friends and family. When I first learned about the incident I was deeply troubled.

    I didn’t know Karen or her family, but we are kindred spirits on similar paths and her memory with live on.

    When the time is right, with permission, I would like to initiate a memorial page on our website in her honor.

  11. ED The loss to you and your family is great !!! And my simpathy goes out to you from myself and Sheila. I will miss her greatly. My adopted MOM wil be forever in my thougth and my heart and I will miss her greatly. You and Karen were there for me in my time of need and I wish I could remember more but I can’t. What I will remember is the love we shared. I’m not much for words but you have my support and I’m there for you MY BROTHER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Our thoughts are with you and our heartfelt condolences..

  13. We had a saying in Viet Nam when good people like Karen passed. Since we had no explanation we just said, The best go first the rest just do the best. In trying to find words that described how I saw Karen I found this poem by Lady Jane Fellows, Time is to slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. Karen loved and was loved by all those that knew her. Bob

  14. Man, this just makes me feel like I have had a couple of bricks dropped on my chest suddenly.

    All I can do is send is send my thoughts out. Hope that those who are impacted by this can come to an understanding. Pray that they will honor her life and realize how precious theirs is.

    It will come for all and no one escapes. It’s what we do with it that counts. I’m deeply sorry and I carry some of the burden as well. We all take something good from others and true friendship is taking that quality with you, living it and passing it on.

    best wishes.

  15. Sorry for your loss. I wonder what it will be like riding on streets of gold…

    Ride on,

  16. Big Ed and family, Our deepest condolences for your loss. Karens life and death has impacted all of us. She was a very special woman. If you or your family need anything don’t hesitate to call. The thoughts and prayers of myself and the entire club are with you and your family.
    Diamonds MC

  17. I’m so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with all of Karen’s family and friends.

  18. Karen was a caring, loving, and enthusiastic woman who spread her joy to everyone she met. We will never forget the life’s lessons of friendship and love that she taught us by just being “Karen”. She had an amazing spirit that will never fade, and will always, forever be close in our minds. We at First State HOG have a tradition of hugging each other before and after a ride. To some it might seem strange at first, but we soon learn and understand the importantance behind the hugs and their meaning. Karen was Hugged by All. Ed, please know that you and your sons are surrounded by caring friends that are here for you now and in all the days to come. Lem, Darlene, Nicholas, & Jake McMaster

  19. I did not know Karen but it is apparent that she had a great wealth of friends and family which is what says the most about the kind of person she was. My condolences to all on the loss of “Mama.”


  20. We all hope to leave behind in our short lives something to be remembered by others. Something that will make a difference in this world. Karen left us with so much love, friendship and joy that it is difficult to pinpoint any single item. Her influence is truly amazing. At my work site I know of two other people that knew her and were saddened by her passing. My neighbor knew of her through Karen’s work. And at church she was in the prayers of not only myself but by others that knew her family. She had the same effect on all of us that were blessed to meet her. Karen was the person who brought joy into a room and a conversation. She was the one who shared her love of family and life so readily with others who surrounded her. And her joy was contagious so that you left feeling better for having the chance to meet her.
    I will miss her but that grief is small compared to that of her family. All of the Fortner and Bain families willl continue to be in the prayers of mine as well as the Pencader Church, the UAME Elizabeth Church, and St. Joesph’s Church. Karen’s influence has been far reaching and is a tribute to her life, love and family.

  21. it’s going to be sad, it’s going to be hard, and yes there will be tears, but… and I think I speak for everyone who knew her… what happens when you think about Karen? you smile…even if it’s through your tears, you smile… you have to.. because of who she was, what she was and how she was.. you can’t help it..

  22. I remember the 1st time I rode with Karen.. She had just got “HER BIG GIRL BIKE”. It was April 6, 2008. We ventured out on a pre ride for our April Poker Run.. Karen rode my wing that day so I could keep a eye on her. Her Bike had 59 miles on it.. I dont know what shined more her or her bike… She was so proud to be out riding.. I will always remember that day.. Today was not a good day rain most of the day.. then at around 2: or 2:30 the rain went away.. Karen is watching over us now.. She will always be in my heart to remember. R.I.P “Squirt”

  23. I’m very sorry for the loss of your friend. I hope your pain will pass in time and that you always hold the memories of her close to your heart. She will be your Guardian Angel in heaven now, watching over you while you ride.

  24. Dear freinds,
    Thank you for your comforting words. Today, Sunday May 3rd, 2009 we say good bye to the physical body that our close friend Karen Fortner resided in before her untimely passing from this world. I will miss her dearly. It is an honor to be her friend. She touched so many people that I am in awe of her spirit. My memories of Karen are full of life and I refuse to believe that she is gone. Instead, I blieve that she was bigger than life.
    She and I had a very clear sense of purpose: to make our extended HOG family as welcoming and fun for everyone as humanly possible. She set the bar very high and I will not let her down.

    Jay Green, Director First State Chapter

  25. Eddie & the Fortner Family, We have been a part of your family for such a long time. When I think of Karen, the first thing I think about it family, she loved her family as her family loved her in return. It is a tragedy that we lost such a wonderful person in our lives so unexpectedly. I read through some of the other posts and everyone seems to know just how she can bring a smile to your face. I’ll never forget the times we had camping and on vacations. Eddie, you and karen have always sort of been adopted parents for me, and for that I am grateful. Know that our spirits and hearts are with you and that you and your sons will always be a part of our family too. Karen, you will be missed but not forgotten. Rest in Peace and best wishes to the fortners

  26. The Barons are so sorry for your loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of Karen’s family, kids and friends.

  27. To Big ED, and all of Karen’s family and friends,

    I have lived long enough to experience the passing of many members of my family, mostly from illnesses, which made me come to feel that the inevitable, was a normal part of the life cycle.

    But, never has anyone’s death, family or friend, ever pained me as deeply as Karen’s untimely and premature passing.

    My heart goes out to all who were touched by her life–she will live on by us keeping her in our memories and in our hearts.

    Road Captain USA’s MOM

  28. […] was back to leading, and that stretch of US-13 was the last place I saw Karen.  We were riding past the gas station that was our last stop on that fateful day last April, and […]

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