Sue Fortescue obituary | Computing
My friend Sue Fortescue, who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 75, was a pioneer in the various worlds of language learning, education, computing and international banking. She was also an active volunteer for several causes.
Sue was born in Teddington, South West London. Her father, Dennis Fortescue, was an RAF officer, and Sue and her mother, Ann (née Angell), led an itinerant life throughout her school years, eventually ending up in Leeds. At the University of Reading she studied French and Italian, spending time in Aix-en-Provence and Naples. She returned to Naples after graduating in 1969, working as an English teacher for the British Council. The Overseas Ministry then recruited her in 1976 to create a master’s degree in education in a Nepalese university.
A master’s degree in linguistics at the University of Leeds in 1975-76 sparked his interest in the use of computers in language learning and later in translation. These were the early days of such uses of computers, and in 1987 she co-authored the book Using Computers in the Language Classroom. At that time, she was pursuing a second master’s degree at Heriot-Watt University, on knowledge-based systems. His language, education and IT skills came together in a position at Barclays Corporate Banking, designing multimedia training programs, ahead of their time.
The last 23 years of Sue’s career were spent at Swift, the international telecommunications banking organization, primarily at their head office in Belgium, but also with a two-year assignment in the United States. She rose to the position of IT manager and her team was responsible for ensuring the resilience of international banking systems to prevent their eventual collapse on January 1, 2000. Swift’s multilingual and multicultural environment suited her outgoing personality perfectly.
Retiring in 2011, Sue moved to Poole in Dorset and enthusiastically embraced volunteering roles, where she used her computer skills to help various local charities and community organisations, including 10 years with Samaritans Bournemouth. Retaining her interest in languages, she became an ambassador for Translators Without Borders, providing translation services for humanitarian purposes, and she completed a third master’s degree, in machine translation. Sue gave her heart and soul to everything she did.
Sue will be remembered for her kindness, enthusiasm, humor and wisdom. She inspired many people with her positive and adventurous approach to life and encouraged them to pursue their dreams.
She is survived by her cousins Lisa, Lynn, Susan and John.