HENRY J. FORTUNATO Henry James Fortunato, 62, died at home in Overland Park, KS, on February 5, 2018 of lung cancer. Public historian, walker, editor, communicator, Henry brought a unerring eye for story to produce a remarkable body of work spanning print and online journalism, innovative programing at the Kansas City Public Library, and historical trail interpretation. Born Jan. 8, 1956, Henry was the son of the late Dolph and Mary (Padula) Fortunato of Wantagh, NY. An Eagle Scout and Empire State School Press Association Journalistof the Year in 1974, his mission from an early age combined respect for civic life with rigorously researched and balanced reporting. A graduate of the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, Henry began his career in university relations. He brought the story of Jan Karski, then a little-known Georgetown professor, to the Washington Post on the 40th anniversary of the 1939 German invasion of Poland. Thanks to Henry, audiences learned of Karski’s role as a Polish underground fighter who brought news of Nazi atrocities to American and Allied leaders, after which Karski was made an honorary citizen of Israel and awarded the distinction “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem. After Georgetown, Henry became Editor-in-Chief of Regardie’s, a start-up Washington, DC business magazine. He guided the new publication to rapid national recognition as a two-time finalist for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. As a Washington, DC-based consultant, Henry created marketing communications strategies for diverse clients in financial services, health care, and industry. Moving to the Kansas City area in 1997, he served as Senior Vice President of Communications for US Central Credit Union. In the late 1990s Henry changed course to pursue a delayed dream toward graduate studies in history. While pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Kansas, Henry partnered with the KU Memorial Union to create the KU History Project. Henry corralled a team of graduate students, faculty reviewers, designers and web developers to produce original online content at kuhistory.com. He produced inventively-captioned panels that remain on display, making rich Jayhawk history accessible to visitors over the past 15 years. Henry joined the Kansas City Public Library in 2006 as Director of Public Affairs. For nine years, Henry brought his boundless energy to transform civic engagement through intellectual programs, exhibits, and promotions. Partnering with Library Director Crosby Kemper III, Henry conceived of the Emmy Award-winning “Meet the Past,” a lively look at historical figures in Kansas City’s history. Henry’s trademark witty introductions set the stage for countless evenings (along with his penchant for working the crowd to exhort everyone ‘to get on the library email list’). As a result, the library received the ALA Award for Excellence in Programming in 2014. After leaving the library in 2015, Henry turned his attention to combining his two passions, history and walking. He founded Sunflower Republic LLC, housed at the InterUrban ArtHouse in downtown Overland Park, adding to the creative mix as resident historian among local artists. He served as a trustee with Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Arts and Recreation Foundation of Overland Park. Henry’s vision would be for everyone to have easy access to history, displayed in well-designed and readable interpretive panels along trails. He developed a series of such panels along a 10-mile stretch of the Indian Creek Trail in Overland Park. These panels, tied to major street arteries, link the history of Johnson County to events of national and international significance. He also produced historical panels for the Burroughs Creek Trail in east Lawrence, KS which will be unveiled in spring 2018. Henry’s professional affiliation with the University of Kansas continued with the Hall Center for the Humanities. As the 2013-14 Simons Public Humanities Fellow and later a visiting research fellow, Henry designed programs to introduce graduate students to professional opportunities for non-academic work in the humanities with nonprofits, museums and foundations. He invented the award-winning Humanities BootCamp, a week-long immersion for graduate students to plan and produce programs for the public. Henry exuberantly shared his passions with his beloved family and friends. He is survived by his wife, Eileen O’Hara; children, Alexander, Peter and Victoria Fortunato; and sister, Lisa Fortunato, Basking Ridge, NJ. He is also survived by mother-in-law, Ann Marie O’Hara, Scranton, PA; brothers-in-law Michael, Jim, Don (Nancy), Tim, Tom and Rich (Angie) O’Hara; nephews Adam Craver, Kevin and Ryan O’Hara and niece Kate O’Hara. He leaves behind his cherished extended family, above all his uncle and aunt, Dr. William and Yolanda Padula, Freeport, NY. His friendships span the country and he treasured them deeply, most especially in recent years his bonds with Ken and Katie Armitage of Lawrence, KS, and with Tom and Margaret Clark of Kansas City, MO. Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, at the InterUrban ArtHouse, 8001 Newton St. Overland Park, KS 66204. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at noon Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Shrine of Saint Joseph, 1050 Long Hill Road, Stirling, NJ 07980. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kansas City Public Library-Missouri Valley Special Collections, 14 W. 10th St. Kansas City, MO 64105; the InterUrban ArtHouse (see above address); or Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, PO Box 526, Lawrence, KS 66044. Finally, to celebrate Henry’s personal hike through history: take a walk with your family and friends.