MELINDA “MANDY” FORTUNA - Shelburne/Colchester. Mandy Fortuna, 21 died in her sleep at her home in Shelburne early Thursday morning, Sept. 25, 2014. Mandy was born on Oct. 19, 1992 in Manchester, NH, the daughter of Michael and Susan Fortuna. She was well known in and around Colchester, having attended schools there since 1998. Mandy was a small girl with a huge heart, beaming smile and infectious laugh. In spite of a mysterious disability that robbed her of her physical capabilities little by little, Mandy carried on to develop fantastic relationships with wonderful people, clearly communicating without ever uttering a single word. Her favorite pastimes were socializing with people at Colchester High School, outings and activities with the Bridging Program, rides with mom in her bright blue van, and long walks with her mom and dad both in the country and downtown. Mandy loved being on and around the lake, sailing, biking, wheel chairing or just looking out from the porch. While her time was short, she had an outsized presence in the lives of those lucky enough to have been considered her friend. Within her family, Mandy was Mike’s little girl, walking partner and completely reliable confidante. She adored her brother Tom, who always made her happy. She also shared the deepest of bonds with Susan, her Caregiver in Chief. Words can’t describe their mutual love and devotion. Outside of Mandy’s school hours they were always together shopping at their favorite stores, visiting their favorite parks, driving around town or just relaxing at home. While Mandy’s needs were great, Mike, Susan and Tom consider it a privilege to have shared in her life.
Mandy is survived by her parents, Michael and Susan Fortuna of Shelburne; her brother Thomas Fortuna of Shelburne; Uncles and Aunts James and Roberta Tomacchio of Methuen, MA, Ronald and Pauline Tomacchio of Hampstead, NH, and Kimberly Fortuna of West Palm Beach, FL; numerous cousins; as well as special friends Heather Ploof, Katie Reed, Amanda Mackney, Dorothy Delaney, Larry Waters, Carrie Lutz, Ann Carol Moffett, Deb and Angella Hamlin, Jen Giroux and Jesse Senger. The family would like to thank Doctors Scott Benjamin, Jennifer Carlson and Jack Long for taking a special interest in Mandy. They apologize for failing to name so many people important to Mandy, and thank you for your friendship. Mike and Susan thank the Colchester and Chittenden South School Districts for allowing Mandy to finish school in Colchester after their recent move to Shelburne. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers or donations please think of Mandy and take a long walk with people you love. Online condolences are welcome at www.gregorycremation.com.