One of Montana’s finest outdoorsmen left this world for new hunting grounds. Bradford Fort passed away July 6, 2022, age 92. Born in Woonsocket, RI, on February 11, 1930, to Charles and Rebecca (Latham) Fort, he was brother to Robert, Barbara and Lois Ann. They grew up wandering the woods, streams, and fields of northern Rhode Island.
The family moved to Indiana when Brad was 16 years old. He attended Brown University beginning in 1948, joined the Marines from 1950-52, then returned to Brown and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1954.
Brad had an ‘engineering mind’ which he used in his work as a supervisor for various manufacturing companies including producers of ski and medical equipment, cabinetry and electrical wiring.
Although successful in his work, Brad’s true love was always the outdoors. If asked, he would describe himself as an ‘outdoorsman’. His love of fishing and hunting started as a young boy in Rhode Island, learning from his father and grandfather. He started fishing with his dad beginning at age 6, and he bagged his first rabbit at age 13 with his grandfather. He learned respect for these skills and the natural world around him.
Brad continued fishing and hunting from Michigan to Colorado to New Mexico with friends and on his own. He was skilled in all types of fishing and hunting; tied his own flies and made his own rods. He could hunt with bow and arrow, muzzle loader, shotgun or rifle, and was an expert self-taught gunsmith; a true craftsman.
In 1993 Brad moved to Montana where he built his log home and retired. He always had dogs, horses, gardens and friends and enjoyed years of hunting, fishing, skeet shooting, cooking excellent meals and exploring the great outdoors.
Brad was always learning - from books or by doing. He was a problem solver and could fix or repair most anything. Passionate about the outdoors and advocating for good conservation of the lands, Brad wrote letters to newspapers, senators, congress people and conservation districts about the importance of protecting wildlife habitat. Generous with his knowledge, he was willing to mentor anyone who wanted to learn. He had high standards and believed in living simply and with integrity. He lived a unique life – doing it his way, finding joy in the natural world.
Brad will be missed by many including his nieces, nephews and cousins spread across the country, his good fishing and hunting friends, his many connections in Ennis and his dog Prince.
Many thanks to the folks at Home Park for their good care of Brad over these last months. It made such a difference.
A very big, special thank you to Tom and Jan Cookson for being great neighbors and especially for their wonderful support for Brad these last years – you allowed him a great deal of peace.
A Celebration of Brad's Life will be held at the Ennis Senior Center in the next few weeks; a notice will be published and all of Brad's friends are encouraged to attend and share their stories about this very unique and anything-but-ordinary man.