Henry Fortunato | KCUR

Henry Fortunato

Courtesy of the Kansas City Public Library

Henry Fortunato, a charismatic shaper of Kansas City's intellectual and history communities, died on Monday. He was 62.

Fortunato's most high-profile role was as public affairs director at the Kansas City Public Library from 2006 to 2015. During his nine-year career, the library said in a statement, Fortunato "revolutionized library programming" and, working with Library Director Crosby Kemper III, helped the library earn local, regional, and national attention.

Henry Fortunato / Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project

The Indian Creek Trail, which spans about 10 miles in Overland Park is about to get a facelift — new outdoor exhibit panels that will teach hikers and bikers about some little-known tidbits of Johnson County history.

For example, did you know that an off-handed remark turned 111th street into College Boulevard?

Maybe not, according to Henry Fortunato, founder of Sunflower Republic, LLC, and director of the Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project, because most schools teach very little about local history.

courtesy of Henry Fortunato

One day in mid-September, Henry Fortunato stepped out the front door of his home in Overland Park, Kansas and began a walk that would continue for the next 39 days and take him to the western edge of the state.

courtesy of Henry Fortunato

In recent years, urban planners have renewed their focus on creating walkable communities. Walking is the most basic mode of transportation – and yet, in the Kansas City metropolitan area, it’s not as common as in other parts of the country.