Samuel “Sam” Forte, 102 of East Greenwich, died on Saturday, April 18th at Tockwotton on the Waterfront, East Providence. Sam was the beloved husband for 72 years of the late Lena “Lee” (DeToro) Forte.
Sam was born on March 13, 1918, the eldest child and only son of the late Vincenzo and Domenica (Sabatino) Forte, immigrants from Naples, Italy. At the age of 28, with three young children and only a few dollars in his pocket, Sam founded Fort, Inc., a manufacturing company of jewelry, souvenir spoons and other collectible gifts sold worldwide. His determination, business sense and ability to connect with people allowed Sam to enjoy much success throughout his career. Through the years, Fort would become a source of great personal and family pride. With Lee always by his side, Sam enjoyed travelling to many countries with Fort — always finding ways to connect with the people he met and places he visited. During various points in his long career, Sam was president of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America, president of the United Jewelry Show and the Jewelers Shipping Association, chairman of the Finance Committee of the Jewelry Institute, and a member of the Governors Jewelry Council. He also held many appointments: as trustee of Moses Brown School and board member of Citizens Bank and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Mental Health Association. Sam was particularly honored to be named Rhode Island’s Small Businessman of the Year in 1977 and invited by President Carter to attend a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden. An avid golfer, Sam belonged to the Metacomet Country Club in East Providence, Admiral’s Cove Golf Club in Jupiter, FL, and was a charter member of the Alpine Country Club in Cranston. Sam took great pleasure in welcoming his children, grandchildren and many friends to the clubs in both Rhode Island and Florida. Sam lived a life defined by joy and generosity. He loved to host parties — birthdays, anniversaries and holidays were always full of family, friends, good food and drinks and laughter. The bigger the celebration, the better for Sam. His family will forever hold him in their hearts, grateful for the lessons he has instilled and the legacy of love he has left them.
Sam leaves a large and loving family who cherished him, including three daughters and a son and their spouses: Donna and Anthony DiIorio of Scituate; Elaine and Jeff Vendetti of Attleboro, Marilyn and the late Kenneth Brockway of Portsmouth; and James “Jimmy” and Nancy (Sarra) Forte of Cranston. He is also survived by his twelve adoring grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren, as well as a loving sister Mary Mastrostefano and cousins Gloria Farina and Evelyn Forsyth. He was preceded in death by sisters Louise Johnson and Lucy Brill. Sam also leaves his devoted caretaker, Susana Frias, who showed him true companionship and compassion for many years and to whom his family is deeply grateful.
Private services will be arranged by Nardolillo Funeral Home in Cranston.
In remembrance of Sam, especially in these difficult times of Covid-19, donations can be made to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank (RIfoodbank.org), 200 Niantic Ave, Providence, RI 02907.
Visit NardolilloFH.com for online condolences.