Johnie Forte Jr., 62, a retired Army brigadier general who since leaving active duty in 1987 had been assistant superintendent for general services of Fairfax County public schools, died of an aneurysm June 3 at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Gen. Forte, who lived in Lorton, oversaw a vast operation in the largest school district in the Washington area. He made sure there was chalk in the classrooms, reading material for students and food in the cafeteria -- details that if carried out efficiently were often taken for granted.
He also was in charge of the school system's security and internal mail, bus transportation for 100,000 students and administration of the insurance coverage of school employees.
Beyond the school system, he did volunteer work, serving as a board member of several organizations and as a mentor to young people in the military, the school system and the community. He was a lay leader at Messiah United Methodist Church in West Springfield, a member of the executive committee for the Fairfax-Falls Church United Way and a board member of Clean Fairfax Council Inc. He also belonged to the Springfield Rotary Club and the Rocks Inc., an organization of active-duty and retired commissioned officers.
Gen. Forte served in variety of command and staff positions in Korea, Vietnam and Germany during some of his 31 years in the military. His posts included that of assistant commander of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany. He had also held personnel and administrative staff positions with the U.S. European Command and at the Pentagon.
His military honors included the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Defense Superior Service Award.
Gen. Forte, a Texas native, was a political science graduate of Prairie View A&M University and received a master's degree in public administration from Auburn University.
His wife, Dolores Bowles, died in 1998.
Survivors include a daughter, Denise Forte of Alexandria; two stepchildren, Mitchell Johnson of Jonesboro, Ga., and Sherri Johnson of Brooklyn, N.Y.; a brother, Arnold Forte of Oxon Hill; two sisters, Pearlie Fields and Nina Faye Brown, both of New Boston, Tex.; and a granddaughter.