Trula Belle Sams-Fortner
Trula Belle Sams-Fortner, 92, of Roan Mountain, Tenn., went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, at Hillview Nursing Home. Trula was the daughter of the late Lee and Mattie Sams of Keenburg. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Lloyd I. Fortner Sr.; four sisters; six brothers; a son-in-law, Greg Starkman; and a lifelong friend of 60+ years, Dorothy Leible of California.
Trula was born and raised in Carter County. She had been a proud U.S. Air Force wife for 27-1/2 years, traveling the world, and being a homemaker. She was of the Christian faith. Trula’s life passions were reading, sewing, baking, gardening, camping, traveling, and her family genealogy. She was known for her quilting skills by family and friends. She helped put together a family history compilation of 30 years of research work for both the Sams and Fortner families.
Trula lived a varied and colorful life, and worked jobs outside of the home, after she raised her children. Her family will always remember her as a woman who spoke her mind, fed and helped anyone that she could, and loved her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Those left to cherish her memory include her five children: her sons, Ike Fortner and wife Patricia, Dennis Cove, and Mike Fortner and wife Jeri, Erwin; her daughters, Kathy Montgomery and husband Fred, Elizabethton, Selma Starkman, Lopez, Wash., and Sheila Birchfield and husband Dennis, Roan Mountain. Her beloved grandchildren are Amanda Hughes, Crystal Birchfield, Michael Birchfield, Matthew Birchfield, Shannan Fortner, Jessica Bankston, Jennifer Lawson, Amy Harrison, Kelly Swiderski and Jesse Starkman. Trula also will be remembered by her 17 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Also surviving are two sisters, Selma Perry of Bluff City and Doodle Renfro of Johnson City; a special niece, Betty Jean Stout; and her special friend, Flo Rodriguez. Numerous nieces, nephews and cousins also survive.
A service to celebrate the life of Trula Belle Sams-Fortner will be conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 5, in the Chapel of Peace at Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton. Friends may also call between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, January 3, to sign the guest register book. The graveside service will be conducted at 1 p.m. Tuesday, January 5, at Mountain Home National Cemetery (Historic Section), 53 Memorial Avenue, Mountain Home, Tenn. Active pallbearers will be Dennis Birchfield, Mike Hughes, Mikie Birchfield, Matthew Birchfield, Ronnie Hoilman and Matthew Miller. Honorary pallbearers will be Fred Montgomery, Jesse Starkman, Don Lawson, the great-grandsons, and Randy Bankston. Those wishing to attend the service are asked to meet at the cemetery at 12:50 p.m. Tuesday. Our staff is committed to taking care of our guests and families that we serve. Please understand we will be following the State’s COVID guidelines. We also ask all guests and family members attending visitations and services to please bring and wear a mask. The service will be livestreamed and may be viewed at 11 a.m. Tuesday or you may view at your convenience after the private service on Tuesday. Those wishing to view the livestream may visit www.tetrickfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary for Trula. Under her obituary you will find a link to the One Room Livestream. Simply click on the link, and you will be directed to the service. Those who prefer memorials in lieu of flowers may make donations to the charity of your choice. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Ivy Hall Nursing Home, Hillview Health Center, Sycamore Shoals Hospital, and Dr. Jonathan Bremer, who was her lifetime friend and doctor during all the stages of her life. Online condolences may be shared with the family on our website, www.tetrickfuneralhome.com
Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton, is honored to serve the Fortner family. Office: (423) 542-2232. Service Information Line: (423) 543-4917.