Remembering Doug Fortier

I first met Doug Fortier at a Mendocino Coast Writers’ Conference, probably around 2012. He stood up during an afternoon session to describe a local writers club, then graciously offered to host me at their next monthly meeting. Over the following ten years, as my wife Karen and I settled into Fort Bragg life, Doug became a wonderful friend, wielding a positive attitude, an ironic sense of humor, and practical writing advice. He and I attended writers’ retreats together and, throughout much of the pandemic, participated in a Tuesday evening writers group. As a beta-reader, he put his heart into polishing my drafts, sometimes conducting research on my behalf. His creative insight, self-effacing commentary, and genuine concern for local artistic communities was impressive.

Beyond that writers’ connection was a special friendship that I’ll always cherish. Whether meeting for a drink downtown or visiting he and Claire at home, I always came away smiling. Doug really was something of a Renaissance guy, adept with computer technology (thanks again, Mr. Fortier) while constructing rich literary worlds, full of dynamic plots, colorful characters, and truly remarkable settings—including dystopian Vienna. Always quick with a compliment, Doug had a genuine interest in the progress of my writing and the health of our family. I’ll miss seeing him around Fort Bragg, even at the local gym.

As Doug’s health failed, he didn’t miss a beat. Bravely sharing the harsh details of the pulmonary fibrosis prognosis, he demonstrated incredible courage—even after barely surviving a life-threatening auto accident. A paragon of determination, he woke up every morning ready to write. He knew how to live well and was an inspirational force to many on the Mendocino coast. For those of us who benefited from his wisdom and love, Doug Fortier’s death is a tremendous loss. May he rest peacefully.

Mike Winn