Richard J. Fortwengler

Richard J. Fortwengler


            Richard J. Fortwengler, of Arlington, Virginia, passed away May 20th following a courageous battle with cancer.


            Rich was born in Washington, D.C. to Victor and Catherine (Kranking) Fortwengler.   He was a graduate of Bishop McNamara High School, received his BA from St. Mary’s College(‘73) and MBA-Finance from GMU(‘81).  He was the loving husband of Sheila Skipper, whom he married on the rooftop of The Hotel Washington.  Richard is survived by his wife Sheila; his parents Victor and Catherine, sisters MaryJo Smith (Ken), Nancy Meringolo (Tom), and brother David Fortwengler and in-laws Peter and Jean Skipper, Colleen Skipper (John Kelly), Kathleen Van Buren (Wendell) Teresa Sheppard (William) Lisa Orlandella (David) of Chatham, as well as many loving nieces and nephews, and uncle Dr. Stephen Moore, who helped support his care.


            Rich had a highly successful career in Financial Services on Wall Street that spanned 30 years. He was a highly regarded professional, held in high esteem, by his colleagues and his clients. Richard joined the NASD in 1983 in the Division of Corporate Finance where he reviewed the underwriting agreements of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). Richard took that experience and expertise and joined Nasdaq to help build the Institutional Services Group working with the largest portfolio managers and traders across the country. Richard was then brought into the fledgling Nasdaq Global Index Group to assist in the launch of the ETF - QQQ and subsequent build out of the global index and data business. He retired from Nasdaq in 2010. In retirement Rich was an active member of the Arlington Tree Stewards and took great pride in preserving his neighborhood tree canopy.    


            Having bought his first Triumph TR250, 29 years ago, Rich was a true ‘car guy’ whose passion was classic European cars.  He was a member of the Capital Triumph Register (CTR), and recently received their prestigious Golden Piston Award.  He was a regular for more than a decade at prominent concours d’elegance shows such as Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, Hilton Head, and Hershey.  Over the years, Rich owned and restored classic Triumphs, Jaguars, Porsches, and MGs. His 1968 TR250 was chosen as the featured car at the “Britain on the Green” car show in 2005.


            A native Washingtonian, Rich, was known to his family and friends as the best tour guide of his beloved city. His nighttime drives past the beautifully lit monuments of our nation’s capital were viewed in grand order from Rich’s classic cars with their tops down.  He also shared his knowledge of the lesser known gems of his beloved city like Teddy Roosevelt Island and the Air Force Memorial.  Rich loved Washington, D.C. and as a result inspired many others to love it as well.


            With his beloved wife, Sheila, at his side, Rich traveled extensively.  White water rafting, panning for gold in Alaska, exploring the Grand Canyon, wine tasting in Sonoma, or marveling at classic cars were just a few of his adventures. But mostly Rich would explore the best beach bars of many tropical islands such as Ambergris Caye, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten to name a few however, none of them matched his favorite island, Jamaica, where he would often be seen in his straw beach hat with a Red Stripe in hand.  Cape Cod, was more like a second home than a vacation destination, as Rich spent many summers there. He loved the local fish and chip shops, boating, and the Cape Cod Baseball League, where he would watch the nation’s best college level summer league. Never missing a home game, one could always find Rich in his favorite seat at Veterans Field in Chatham under the lights watching his favorite team, the Chatham Anglers. He grew up following the Washington Senators now the Washington Nationals.  In addition to college baseball, Rich was an avid sports fan and season ticket holder of GMU men’s basketball.


            In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the Chatham Historical Society.