Long time public servant and retired Justice of the Peace, Arthur L. Fort. passed away Friday, February 19, 2021, at his residence.
Arthur was born in San Antonio, Texas on August 24, 1936, to Foster and Jean Fort. He was a third generation Texan, whose family came to Mexico before the war for Texas Independence and settled on the Brazos River in the area that would eventually become Waco, Texas. His maternal ancestors were descendants of the Cherokee Nation, something that Arthur was very proud of. Although born in San Antonio, he briefly lived in Texarkana before moving with his family to Longview in 1938 when his father came to town to manage Radio Station KFRO for James R. Curtis, Sr.
Never a stranger to hard work and public service, one of his first jobs as a child was as a water boy to city crews laying the water line in front of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on Sixth Street. Arthur graduated from Longview High School in 1956, and married Sue Cumbie on June 7, 1957. In 1958, the future judge embarked on a lifelong career in public service when he joined the Longview Police Department. After a stint with Alcoa in Marshall, Texas, he returned to law enforcement as a sheriff’s deputy under Sheriff Tom Welch and continued serving under Sheriffs Mike Fetter and Bobby Weaver before being elected Justice of the Peace for Gregg County, Precinct 2 in 1996. He would go on to serve the citizens of Gregg County as Justice of the Peace for 18 years before retiring in 2014.
Community service has long been associated with the Fort Family, and Judge Fort was no exception. He was an active member of the Knights of Pythias and Longview Jaycees. On Sundays he could be found welcoming members and guests alike at his beloved First Baptist Church where he was a member since childhood.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Sue Cumbie Fort; brothers, Foster ''Bill'' Fort, Jr., Lee Fort, and Gene Fort; sisters, Mary Lanagan and Sandra Lloyd; and his parents, Foster and Jean Fort.
Judge Fort is survived by sons, Billy Fort and Lyle Fort.
The family will receive friends for a time of visitation in the Garden Court of Welch Funeral Home on Sunday, February 28, 2021, from 5 o’clock until 7 o’clock in the evening. A Life Celebration funeral service will be held Monday, March 1, 2021, at 1 o’clock in the afternoon in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church with Dr. David English officiating.
Interment will immediately follow in Lakeview Memorial Gardens. The Gregg County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard will serve as pallbearers and render honors at the cemetery.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be made to American Red Cross.
Services for Judge Fort are handled exclusively by R. Blake Cammack and Welch Funeral Home.
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