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September 9, 2022

Mark E. Fortini

Mark E. Fortini, of Philadelphia, PA and Frederick, MD died unexpectedly at his Philadelphia home on September 9, 2022 at the age of 59. He was the beloved husband of Deborah (Debbie) Morrison of Frederick, MD; cherished son of Edward and Patricia Fortini of Falmouth, MA; special brother of Beth Fortini and her husband John O’Connor of Quincy, MA; and wonderful uncle to Sean O’Connor. He is also survived by a loving, extended family and many friends all over the world.

Mark graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury High School and went on to earn his undergraduate degree at Harvard University. He received his doctorate in Molecular Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, where he did his graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Gerald Rubin, and he completed his postdoctoral studies at Yale University in the laboratory of Dr. Spyros Artavanis-Tsakonas. Subsequently, Mark held positions as an Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania and in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Thomas Jefferson University, and he was currently employed by the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health. His fascination with science was only surpassed by his love for Debbie, whom he met when they worked together on the Human Genome Project, and their cat Anya.

Antiques, history, and genealogy topped the long and eccentric list of Mark’s interests. He never spent less than two hours in an antique store and, during his free time, could be found carefully restoring the vintage hardware from his nineteenth century Philadelphia home, “The Fortini Museum.” Whether he was reaching out to long-lost relatives in California, scouring antique stores, eBay or flea markets for his next find, studying Russian, or skiing on classic New England trails, Mark gave his full attention to whatever he was doing. Mark was a true raconteur with a keen and quick wit.

Mark enjoyed travel, but no place was as special to him as Pocasset, MA, where he summered with his family throughout the 1970s and 80s. While working in the Chart Room, Mark was known to jump off the dock while fully clothed at the end of his shift, much to the delight of his coworkers. Whenever he visited his parents on Cape Cod, Mark could be spotted driving his classic black Mustang through his old stomping grounds.

Visiting hours will be held on September 22, 2022 in Keohane Funeral Home, 785 Hancock St., QUINCY from 4-6pm and from 6:30-8pm, with a Celebration of Life service happening at 6 pm. There will be a burial in Oak Grove Cemetery in Falmouth, MA on September 23, 2022. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Bourne Historical Society or the American Heart Association.