Floral 24
Official Obituary of

Jean Ann (Fortuna) Borgatti

September 11, 1924 ~ February 22, 2024 (age 99) 99 Years Old

Jean Ann (Fortuna) Borgatti Obituary


Jean A. (Fortuna) Borgatti, formerly of Niagara Falls and Lewiston, died Thursday, February 22, 2024, at Elderwood Skilled Nursing Facility at Wheatfield, New York, under the care of Niagara Hospice. She was 99 years old.  Jean was born in Niagara Falls, NY on September 11, 1924, the daughter of Francesco and Clementina (Ventresca) Fortuna.

As a small child, Jean accidentally ingested lye, a caustic chemical used for cleaning. This traumatic event instilled in her a great reverence for medicine and the nursing profession–which she would eventually take up herself.  She graduated from Niagara University’s College of Nursing, at the age of 38, in 1963 and was the first married woman with children to be allowed in the program.  Jean went on to become a professor of Nursing at Niagara University and the Director of the School of Nursing’s Independent Learning Center. While a faculty member, she also helped recruit nurses for the ROTC program and received a special award from the commander of the ROTC program for her service. 

Jean earned a Masters in Health Education degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1973. She was also certified in School Nurse Teaching and completed 32 credit hours toward her doctorate.

Jean attended Niagara Falls public schools and was a graduate of the Niagara Falls High School Class of 1943. During WWII, while still in school, she worked at Bell Aircraft, where she advanced to the position of Lead-Woman #2 Conveyor on the second shift. The money she earned helped her family establish Fortuna’s Restaurant in Niagara Falls, which has been in business since 1945.

On December 21, 1944, Jean married Henry Joseph Borgatti of Welland, Ontario at St. Joseph’s Church in Niagara Falls.  At the time, Henry was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He passed away in November of 1999.

In 1975, Jean became the first female Democrat (and only the second woman) to be elected to the Niagara County Legislature. She served as chair of the Mental Health Committee, co-chair of the County Youth Board, and a member of the Education Committee.  In May of 2016, she was honored with a proclamation by the Niagara County Legislature for her groundbreaking service. 

Jean worked as a School-Nurse Teacher at Niagara-Wheatfield Senior High School and Edward Town Junior High School from 1964 to 1975 and as a Professor of Nursing at Niagara University from 1975 to 1987. Following her retirement from Niagara University, Jean taught part-time as a Health Education instructor at Niagara County Community College.

Jean was actively involved in a number of community service organizations including the American Red Cross–Niagara Chapter, the Association for Retarded Children, and the Health Systems Agency (HSA) Sub-Area Council of Niagara.

Jean is survived by a son, Robert (Evelyn) Borgatti, a daughter, Beverly (late Robert) Barthel, grandchildren, Michelle (Michael) Kratts, Patricia (John) Pileggi,Christopher Borgatti (Noelia Correa Serrano), great grandchildren, Caitlyn Kratts (Michael Beck), Brendan Kratts (Claudia McGinnis), Jillian Kratts, and Marisa Pileggi, a sister-in-law, Carmella Fortuna, and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was the sister of the late Joseph Fortuna.

Visitation will be from 11AM-1PM on Friday, March 1, 2024 at the Rhoney Funeral Home, 901 Cayuga Street, Lewiston, NY, followed by a brief memorial service by Rev. Kathleen A. Ordiway.

Entombment will be in Riverdale Cemetery Mausoleum. 

There will be a celebration of life at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Niagara Hospice, 4675 Sunset Drive, Lockport, NY  14094.


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March 1, 2024

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Rhoney Funeral Home, Inc.
901 Cayuga St
Lewiston, NY 14092-1734

Memorial Service
March 1, 2024

1:00 PM
Rhoney Funeral Home, Inc.
901 Cayuga St
Lewiston, NY 14092-1734


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