|Birth: ||Jun. 12, 1932|
|Death: ||Dec. 18, 2007|
From the Houston Chronicle: Permission to reprint given to me by Jo Ann... my aunt.
In front of Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson is a statue of an older man teaching a small child how to fish. The man in the statue could have been Clarence Thomas Forse, who died Tuesday at 75.
In 12 years as a volunteer, Forse helped more than 7,500 youngsters get a taste of fishing in a special youth fishing program he started at the center.
"He loved to fish, but he loved even more to be with those kids," said his son, Gary Forse. "He had a special place in his heart for kids with special needs," he said.
Sea Center is a fish hatchery maintained by Texas Parks and Wildlife, but it also has a free aquarium for visitors and the fishing pond used for special youth programs — as well as some programs for the elderly.
A devoted cadre of volunteers man the visitor center. Many of them were trained by Clarence Forse. He compiled more than 5,500 hours of volunteer service, said David Abrego, the center's director.
"He was there even before the center opened," Abrego said. "He did maintenance, he recruited donors, he trained volunteers. I liked to joke that he was the real boss."
Next year the center will name a fishing pier in his honor.
Volunteering is something Forse had done for almost 60 years. Born in Appleby on June 12, 1932, he grew up in Nacogdoches. He joined the volunteer fire department there when he was 16.
After graduating from high school he became a dispatcher for the Texas Department of Public Safety in San Angelo. In 1953 he was drafted by the U.S. Army and sent to Fort Bliss in El Paso to be part of the Army's first guided missile unit.
While there he met a young nurse named JoAnn Griffin at a USO dance. They were married in October 1953.
In 1955 he moved to Lake Jackson to take a job as an operator at the sprawling Dow Chemical complex in Freeport. He retired in 1985 as a supervisor in the Dow fire department and a member of the emergency response team.
He was also a longtime member of the Lake Jackson Volunteer Fire Department. His son recalled a radio in the family kitchen that would signal an alarm and then a dispatcher would give the address of a fire.
After his sons Gary, Terry and Tim were born, Forse volunteered as a Scout leader and in the local Little League program.
He was the one in the neighborhood with all the tools and all the expertise, his son remembered. When his first grandchild was born and everybody else in the family was making a fuss over the baby, Gary Forse said his father was busy fixing a broken water heater.
He loved to fish and long maintained a beach house at Sargent, Gary Forse said.
In recent years Forse suffered from heart and circulatory problems. He died quietly at home of heart failure.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, his sons, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Sisters Joyce (Bill) McCutchen, and Hazle (Sheryl) Goss survive him.
A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 tonight at St Michael's Catholic Church in Lake Jackson. The funeral is scheduled for the church at 10 a.m. Saturday, under the direction of Lakewood Funeral Chapel.
Brother preceeds him in death: John C Forse, as do his grandparents, Grandmother Hill
His sister, Patsy Nichols, preceeded him in death.
Jewel Cecil Forse (1903 - 1986)
Patsy Hill Forse (1907 - 1998)
John Cecil Forse (1929 - 1995)*
Alice Joyce Forse McCutchen (1930 - 2012)*
Patsy Ann Forse Nichols (1930 - 2007)*
Clarence Thomas Forse (1932 - 2007)
Restwood Memorial Park
Created by: In memory of Bo and Chri...
Record added: Dec 26, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23570052