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FORTUNA Justin James (Giustino)
Birth: 2 Apr 1928 Chicago, Ill.
Death: 10 Apr 2000 Des Plaines, Ill.
1930 in Chicago, Ill.
US Soc Sec Apps and Claims on ancestry
Justin J. Fortuna, 72, referee, restaurateur
Justin J. Fortuna excelled in sports as an athlete and officiator, and was equally
successful as an entrepreneur_owning three restaurants in greater Chicago.
A Mount Prospect resident, Mr. Fortuna died Monday at the age of 72.
He played infield for the Chicago Cubs before his professional career was interrupted
by Army service in the Korean War. He was considered a top basketball official with
the Chicago Public League and officiated at state tournaments and college games.
Greg Swidersky, like Mr. Fortuna a member of the Athletic Officials of America, said
his friend had a presence on the floor when it came to basketball.
"He took control of the game. If some kids started mixing it up, he took them in hand,"
Swidersky said. "A lot of coaches respected him for that. When you saw Justin
Fortuna out there, you knew you were going to get a fair game."
Mr. Fortuna was born in Chicago on April 2, 1928. He attended Harrison High School
and DePaul University.
For many years he was involved with the Windy City Baseball League, especially the
"Our family life was inundated with sports," said Muriel Fortuna, his wife of 44 years.
"He was a very flamboyant type of ref; everyone knew when he was on the floor,
whether they were sports fans or players. He just loved being in full control of the
Mr. Fortuna owned Jay's Drive-In restaurants in Harwood Heights, Schiller Park and
Mount Prospect. The businesses were family operations. He worked with his three
sons while his daughter pursued a career in the banking industry.
"He will be remembered both for his athletic prowess and for his success as an
entrepreneur," his wife said.
Along with his wife, survivors include his children, Ginny Bisluk, Jay, Frank and John
Fortuna; his mother, Jean Fortuna; his brother, Frank Fortuna; 12 grandchildren, and
several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services are at 9 a.m. today at Rago Brothers Norridge Chapels, 7751 W.
Irving Park Rd., with mass at 10 a.m. at St. Emily Church in Mount Prospect. Burial will
be in Mount Carmel.
Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Thursday, April 13, 2000
JUSTIN FORTUNA, 72, LONGTIME REFEREE
Whether it was umpiring a high school basketball game or managing his restaurant
chain, Jay's Drive-In, Justin James Fortuna, 72, of Mt. Prospect let everyone know he
was in charge.
After 30 years of officiating basketball and baseball games for public and parochial
high schools, Mr. Fortuna was inducted into the Chicago Public League Basketball
Coaches Association Hall of Fame for officials in 1996.
"He let you know he was boss," said Luther Bedford, athletic director at Marshall High
School, who also served as the association's president when Mr. Fortuna was
inducted. "Officials and coaches are not always compatible, but he got along with
most of them."
Mr. Fortuna died Monday, April 10, in Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines.
His passion for sports started with baseball--a game he continued to play well into the
1970s on the Bobcats, a 16-inch softball team. He also played basketball for DePaul
In the 1950s Mr. Fortuna served two years in the U.S. Army.
He started out selling men's clothing and in 1958 opened Justin's Men's Wear in
Chicago, a store he owned and operated for three years. By the 1960s, Mr. Fortuna
was selling aluminum siding. At that time he became a basketball referee.
Mr. Fortuna got out of selling aluminum siding in 1976 when he opened Jay's Drive-In
in Harwood Heights. He managed the fast-food restaurant and opened two more
drive-ins, one in Schiller Park and another in Mt. Prospect.
He retired from refereeing in the early 1990s and within a few years retired from his
"He was a strong-willed person," said his wife of 44 years, Muriel. "Most of the time
he got his own way."
Other survivors include three sons, Jay, Frank and John; a daughter, Ginny Bisluk; his
mother, Jean; a brother, Frank; and 12 grandchildren.
Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Emily Catholic Church, 101 N. Horner
Lane, Mt. Prospect.
Chicago Tribune (IL) - April 13, 2000
FORTUNA Frank (6 Sep 1902 - 1 Aug 1991)
RODIA Genevieve (Jean) (11 Jun 1908 - 17 Feb 2004)
FORTUNA Justin James (Giustino) (2 Apr 1928 - 10 Apr 2000)
FORTUNA Frank Joseph (13 Oct 1929 - 8 Jul 2001)
Marriage To ----- Muriel ()
Children by ----- Muriel
FORTUNA Ginny ()
FORTUNA John ()
FORTUNA Frank ()
FORTUNA Jay ()
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