John Stephen Forester died Friday, October 2, 2020 from complications of COVID-19. Steve was born September 6, 1948, in Batesville, Arkansas, to the Reverend J.C. Forester and Willie Mae Forester. The family settled in McKenzie, Tennessee, in 1964. Steve graduated from McKenzie High School in 1967. He attended Bethel College (now university) and graduated in 1971.
“Steve was the eldest of four boys, and stories of their misdeeds, scrapes, adventures, and games are legendary, both within and outside the family.” The Foresters were a well known clergy family in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and, likewise, the “Forester Boys,” (Steve, Byron, David, and Mark), were well known in the Cumberland Presbyterian and Bethel College communities.
After J.C.’s death, Steve returned to McKenzie in 1988 to be near Willie Mae. He served on the session of Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church (West Tennessee Presbytery) for many years and was an “ever-faithful presence-always showing up for whatever was needed.”
Among other things, Steve worked for the Western State Mental Hospital in Bolivar, Tennessee, and with adults with developmental disabilities for St. John’s Community Services Tennessee. Steve’s brother, the Reverend Byron Forester, is active in West Tennessee Presbytery. Several other clergy members and very active Cumberland Presbyterians are in Steve’s extended family.
Writing in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank said of Steve, “He had helped adults with developmental disabilities and was a longtime volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels. . .his family is heartbroken at his sudden and preventable loss.”
Steve Forester’s nieces wrote a heartfelt tribute to their uncle which is available here: https://www.mckenziebanner.com/stories/steve-forester,6942
Milbank’s editorial in the Washington Post is here: https://wapo.st/36GCQJ3