In Memory

Connie Fortier (West)

Connie Fortier (West)

Carlene (Connie) Fortier West

Carlene (Connie) West, age 74, departed this world peacefully in the comfort of her home on September 16, 2021. She was born to the late Ted Massoth and Louise Fortier, on April 8, 1947, in New Rochelle, NY.

In her youth, Connie lived in several states and Puerto Rico before settling in Las Vegas where she graduated from Western High School and UNLV. It was in Las Vegas where she met her longtime love, Mike, who preceded in her in death after 48 years of marriage. They built a beautiful life based on family, friends, and faith.

Connie spent 40 years in education as a teacher, cheerleading coach, counselor, and administrator in Las Vegas and Gig Harbor, WA. She retired as a middle school principal and always had a special place in her heart for middle schoolers. Her career afforded her the opportunity to touch many lives.

Connie had hoped that retirement would allow her to travel with Mike, but life took a different path. Mike's dementia caused her to take on the role of caregiver, which she did with graceful unconditional love. Not long after moving to Reno, NV, to be close to family Connie was diagnosed with gastrointestinal peritoneal metastasis. Her cancer required an aggressive treatment protocol of multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation, which she endured on and off for 5 years without complaint in order to extend her life for as long as possible. When anyone else would have broken, Connie persevered. Her will to live life to its fullest was inspiring. And her deep-rooted faith in God and love for her family guided her through her darkest days.

Those lucky enough to have Connie in their lives found her to be compassionate, supportive, wise, and loyal. Her positive outlook and appreciation for the daily gifts in life made those around her want to be kinder, more loving human beings. We hope you think of Connie when you see a hummingbird, admire a flower, plant a seed, try a new recipe, read a book, visit a beach, enjoy a sunset, or take a trip – all things that Connie loved.

Connie is survived by her daughters, Ali (Jeff) Shepard and Carli (Pete) Kinne; her grandchildren, Burke, Claire, and Kal; her mother Louise; her sisters, Kathleen (John), Annette (Harvey), and Renee; her brothers, Dana and Quincy; her sister-in law Jerry; and her loyal labradoodle companion Josie.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family will hold a private service at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Reno, NV, and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Tacoma, WA.

In lieu of flowers, the family is seeking donations to establish a fund in memory of Connie to support gastrointestinal peritoneal cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, University of Nebraska Medical Center where Dr. Jason Foster offered her an effective plan to manage her cancer in a caring and compassionate environment.

The family believes that supporting research at UNMC is the best way to honor Connie and help others who may face a similar prognosis to have a better outcome. Donations may be sent to the University of Nebraska Foundation, 2285 South 67th Street, Suite 200, Omaha, NE 68106. Please make checks payable to the University of Nebraska Foundation and include on the memo line or enclosed note that the gift is in memory of Connie West or visit to make an online gift designated in memory of Connie West.

Posted by Reno Gazette Journal on September 30, 2021


(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-55656465-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');