In Memoriam

Benjamin Johnson Fortson III (1959 - 2015)

Benjamin Johnson Fortson III, 55, a lifelong resident of Fort Worth, passed away Monday, April 20, 2015.

Memorial service: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Christ Chapel Bible Church, 3701 Birchman Ave., Fort Worth, with Dr. Ted Kitchens, senior pastor, and the Rev. Tom Wilson officiating.

Memorials: The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Ben's memory to the Texas Heart Institute, Development Office, MC-3-117, Box 20345, Houston, Texas 77225; Cook Children's Medical Center, 801 Seventh Ave., Fort Worth, Texas 76104; or Lena Pope, 3200 Sanguinet St., Fort Worth, Texas 76107. Ben, known to friends and family as Ben III or B3, was born Dec. 3, 1959, to Kay Kimbell Carter and Benjamin Johnson Fortson. He graduated from Fort Worth Country Day School in 1978 and attended the University of Texas, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha, and later graduated from Texas Christian University. He spent two years in the business management program at Sotheby's International. Ben spent his entire career in the oil and gas business, as owner and operator of Benco Oil and Gas. He was always an active participant in the cultural life of Fort Worth. He was a longtime director of the Kimbell Art Foundation, a director of Performing Arts and a member of several organizations including Young Presidents' Organization, Exchange Club, and a past president of the Steeplechase Club. He was also involved with the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, and Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation. He was a longstanding member of Christ Chapel Bible Church.

Ben III loved people and with his infectious personality made friends and acquaintances wherever he went, and became a good and loyal friend to many. He had a clever, irrepressible and often self-deprecating sense of humor. He maintained a remarkably positive outlook no matter the circumstances. He had a keen sense of adventure that was expressed in countless ways, including a penchant for old cars, flying small planes, Canadian heli-skiing and traveling the world with friends and family. He was equally comfortable at the family ranch in East Texas or a black tie affair. Ben III married Lisa Palermo on March 30, 1996, and they were blessed with two wonderful children. Nothing in this world brought him more joy than time with his sons, Benjamin and Coleman, who were named for the two most important and influential men in his life—his father and maternal grandfather.

B3 will be remembered as an amazing friend, his love for people and a life lived to the fullest. Though his body was weakened by heart disease, Ben III took comfort and strength from his faith in Jesus. He was well cared for by Dr. Willerson and his staff at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, who also gave his family great support.

Survivors: Ben III leaves behind a loving community, including his wife, Lisa Palermo Fortson; sons, Benjamin Johnson Fortson IV and Coleman Carter Fortson; parents, Kay and Ben Fortson; twin sister, Karen Fortson Davis; sister, Kimbell Wynne and husband, Mitch; sister, Lisa Burton and husband, Bill; aunt, Kay Fortson Baldwin; cousins, Kingsbery Baldwin and Karl Baldwin; nine nieces and nephews; a grandnephew; and a grandniece.

Published in Star-Telegram from Apr. 23 to Apr. 24, 2015