Ray T. Fortunato of State College passed peacefully on Sunday, December 31, 2017 at Foxdale Village, one month short of his 95th birthday. Ray was born February 5, 1923 in Buffalo, NY to Frank Fortunato and Hilda Larson. The family moved to Bethlehem, PA in 1926 where Ray was raised and graduated from Liberty HS in 1940. On July 20, 1946, he married Ruth (Tawnie) Hill, who passed October 9, 2003. Ray's only brother, Frank, died in 2006.
Ray is survived by a son, Thomas (Rocco) Fortunato and his wife, Monea, of Bracketteville, TX; a daughter, Carol Witmer, and her husband Jim, of Orlando, FL; a granddaughter, Anna J. Witmer of Pleasant Gap, PA; a grandson, Thomas O. Witmer and his wife, Liz, and great-granddaughter, Amelia Ruth Witmer, all of Pleasant Gap; a sister-in-law, Patricia Hill, of Cabot, PA; several nieces and nephews; and a legacy of music, laughter, and fun.
During World War II, Ray served as an officer in the 78th Infantry Division and fought in Germany. Among his military citations were two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. At the time of his honorable discharge in 1947 he was commissioned as a military intelligence officer.
He received two degrees from Penn State University, a BS in Business Administration in '47, and a Masters in Music Composition in '52. He was employed by Penn State from 1948 through 1985 and retired as Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Emeritus. During his employment at Penn State he was awarded the John Wilkinson Award for Administrative Excellence, and the Lions Paw Medal for service to the University. Another part of his life was in music and theatre, having served as director of Penn State Thespians for thirteen years. He played and acted in performances entertaining Penn Alumni and State College audiences. He wrote music used in Thespians and other shows, and for his church choir. Ray wrote one of Penn State's traditional fight songs, "Hail, O Hail", which the Penn State Glee Club uses to open every concert.
He served as national president of the College and University Professional Association-Human Resources and was awarded its Donald Dickason Achievement Award. He served as president of the Penn State Alumni Associations for The College of Business Administration and The College of Arts and Architecture. He was a past president of Rotary, and a founding member of the Centre County Personnel Association.
Following retirement from Penn State he founded Ray T. Fortunato Associates, a consulting firm in higher education administration. He had over 130 consulting assignments at 84 different colleges and universities across the country.
Ray authored or co-authored eight books, six of which won national awards. For thirteen summers he served on the faculty of the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky.
In his later retirement years, Ray turned again to his music and performed often for the Penn State Alumni Association reunions, and at retirement villages throughout Central Pennsylvania.
He was a member of the State College Presbyterian Church and served as deacon, elder, and chair of the Board of Trustees. He sang in the church choir over 35 years.
A memorial service will be held at 1:30p.m. on January 13, 2017 at the State College Presbyterian Church, 132 W. Beaver Ave., State College.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the State College Presbyterian Church, 132 W. Beaver Ave., State College, PA 16801.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home. Signing of the guest book and condolences may be made at www.kochfuneralhome.com