Charlot May Fortman Westphal, 85, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, passed away on April 13, 2016, surrounded by family, from the effects of a stroke.
Charlot was born on June 24, 1930, in Lansing, Michigan. She was one of four children born to Charles and Mary Winslow Fortman, of Lansing.
Charlot grew up in Lansing and attended Michigan State University where she studied music. She often talked about her first job at a drug store soda fountain where she met her late husband, William “Bill” Westphal, who passed away at the age of 87 from Alzheimer’s. They married in 1953 on Valentine’s Day in Rolla, Missouri. They would have celebrated a 63 year marriage this past February.
Bill worked for the National Park Service so he and Charlot had the opportunity to travel around the country living in places like Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Mammouth Cave National Park in Kentucky, and Gulf Island National Seashore in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
Charlot found her “niche” in each community she lived in and was always an active member of the local Episcopal Church, often playing the organ and/or piano for the choir. While living in Ocean Springs, she was a member of the Anderson Players Society and made costumes for the actors. When she was in her early 50s she started a new career as an office manager for Edward Jones Co. where she continued to work until her retirement in 2010 at the age of 80.
It was at that time she moved to Rocky Mount, North Carolina to live with her son and daughter-in-law.
Charlot had many interests and hobbies.
In her younger years, she enjoyed sewing and made most of her own clothing. She also created beautiful handmade braided rugs with wool she collected. She was an avid genealogist, compiling many books, albums and journals tracing her ancestors all the way back to the Mayflower.
Charlot loved music, movies, and keeping up with local and world news and events. Those who knew and loved her could carry on endless conversations on any number of these topics. As of late, she spent much of her time “playing” with and reading to and enjoying the company of her young great-grandchildren.
Charlot was known and loved for her calm and gentle personality; she had a gracious soul and made the most out of every situation. Never complaining, she laughed easily and often. Her advice was to always save room for dessert or an evening refreshment.
Charlot is survived by brother, David (Jeannie) Fortman of Moorsburg, Tennessee; a sister, Carolyn Paine of Madison, Wisconsin; nephews, Steve (Shiryl) Paine of Oxnard, California, Allen (Sally) Paine of Madison, Wisconsin, Craig Fortman and Christopher Fortman both of Boynton Beach, Florida; one son, Robert W. (Lauri) Westphal Sr. of Rocky Mount, North Carolina; grandchildren, Kary N. Westphal of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Robert W. (Hailey Dimitry) Westphal Jr. both of whom are active duty in the United States Navy stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina; and Samantha M. Westphal of Rocky Mount, North Carolina; great-grandchildren, Caiden J. Westphal, 6; Jaxon W. Mott, 4; and Lillianna S. Westphal, 2. Watch for their balloons, Nana.
She was preceded in death by her husband, William V. “Bill” Westphal; brother, Charles “Bud” Fortman Jr.; and a niece, Angela Fortman.
Charlot will truly be missed by many, but is now home in the loving arms of our Beloved Father and will rest in Eternal Peace through Jesus Christ.
A celebration of Charlot’s life will be held at a future date.
The Westphal family would like to give a special thank you to Mark Willey and heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Edgar Butler of New Bern, North Carolina. For online condolences, visit www.thomasyelverton.com.
Thomas-Yelverton at Evergreen Memorial Park Funerals and Cremations in Wilson, North Carolina is assisting the family.