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1948 - 2020
McKenzie — John Stephen Forester died Friday, October 2 from complications of COVID – 19, and we are grateful that he is at peace, surrounded by members of his family who have gone before. We are heartbroken at his sudden and preventable loss.
Steve was born on September 6, 1948 in Batesville, Arkansas to J.C. and Willie Mae Forester. Attending to the call of ministry J.C. moved his family to Cord, Arkansas, McKenzie, Tenn., Bradford, Tenn., Marshall, Texas, Olney, Texas and Denton, Texas. The family settled in McKenzie in 1964, with Steve graduating from McKenzie High School in 1967. He attended and graduated from Bethel College in 1971. After graduation, Steve worked for West Tenn. Mental Hospital in Bolivar, later moving to South Carolina for 10 years. Steve settled permanently in McKenzie in 1988 to be with his mother, Willie Mae Forester, after his father’s death. Steve worked at Gaines Manufacturing as a furniture designer, but his favorite job was with St. Johns Community Services, where he worked with adults with developmental disabilities. Of special importance to Steve was working with Ron Hudson, with whom he shared a deep friendship and a love of baseball. He also served as a longtime volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels.
Steve was the eldest of four boys, and stories of their misdeeds, scrapes, adventures, and games are legendary, both within and outside the family. Whenever “the boys” started reminiscing, it would always end with laughter to the point of tears, usually with a look of mild horror on Willie Mae’s face. We loved to see Steve laugh; it always started with just a little chuckle to himself and would grow to a full body laugh.
At his heart, Steve was a caregiver. Whether faithfully looking after his mother for many years or working with adults with developmental disabilities, Steve devoted his life to serving others. He was a member of Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church’s session for many years and was an ever-faithful presence-always showing up for whatever was needed. Steve Forester never missed sending a birthday card and always had thoughtful gifts, remembering a subject one of his nieces mentioned the year before and following up with a gift that matched it. He was caring, loving, and patient to all he met, with saintly disposition and a servant’s heart. The world was not good enough for Steve Forester.
He loved Bethel Wildcat athletics, mystery novels, the Atlanta Braves, and his nieces. Especially his nieces. Steve took special care of his backyard garden, which he was eager to show off to his visitors – and made sure to send them home with a fresh tomato. Steve was a great craftsman, and shared the fruits of his labor with his family throughout the years. He carved and painted wooden ducks, toys and furniture. A good Christmas was a Christmas where you received a handmade gift from Steve.
Steve didn’t have social media or use the internet, but he had a great impact on the world, and the world is all the better for it.
He was preceded in death h by his father Reverend J.C. Forester. He leaves his mother, Willie Mae Forester, three brothers – Byron (Michelle Brown), David, and Mark (Karen Forester), four nieces – Rachel (Omar), Hayley, Elizabeth, and Eleanor, his great-nephew George and great-niece Abigail Mae – and a host of cousins, extended family and friends.
Steve Forester will be laid to rest on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery in McKenzie at 11 am. The service will be held outside, and masks and social distancing are required. The service will also be lived-steamed on Shiloh Church’s Facebook page.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Steve’s memory to Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the McKenzie Carroll County United Neighbors. We loved our Uncle Steve, and he deserved better. Brummitt-McKenzie Funeral Home had charge of arrangements.