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Robert (Bob) Forbes

April 21, 1927 - March 19, 2014-


Bob ForbesMadras resident Robert (Bob) L. Forbes passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday March 19, 2014. Bob was born in Bend on April 21, 1927, the first born of Percy and Bertha Forbes. He spent his early years in Stauffer, Ore. near Christmas Valley, on his parents’ dry land wheat farm. Following the birth of his sisters Mary and Francis and the closure of the Stauffer one-room school house, the family moved to Bend. While still a teenager, he went to work at the Naval Shipyard in Portland, Ore. as a welder gaining his certificate as a master welder. He joined the Navy in 1944 and served two years. Following the war, he attended Northwest Nazarene College in Idaho for a year and then transferred to Oregon State College (now OSU). He joined the Pi Tau Sigma Engineering Fraternity, graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State. He was certified as a Professional Engineer in Mechanical Engineering in 1958. Bob was certified as a Professional Engineer in Control Systems Engineering in 1975 and earned an MBA from the UCLA Graduate School of Management in 1975. In 1976, he became a certified Chemical Engineer and a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Bob met his future bride, Esther Henske, when the Redmond Free Methodist Church Youth group held a picnic at the farm of Robert and Katie Henske, Esther’s parents. Bob liked to say that he and Esther had a “secret” engagement; it was so secret that even he didn’t know about it for 3 months! He and Esther began 61 years of marriage following their wedding on June 2, 1951, at the Madras Free Methodist Church. The newlyweds moved to San Francisco to work for the Standard Oil Company of California (now Chevron). They started their family with the eldest of three boys, Martin, followed by Byron and Gordon. In 1961, Bob moved the family to South Pasadena, Calif., to work with the CF Braun Company until his retirement in 1985 as a Vice President of the company. Known for his engineering skills and innovative thinking, while at CF Braun, Bob devised a daring and audacious plan to utilize a rare high tide event to float an entire petrochemical facility into place utilizing huge barges in Alaska. He was the chief project engineer in charge of bringing a polyethylene plant on line and under budget in Illinois in 1971. His interdisciplinary skills in Mechanical and Chemical Engineering as well as management skills, led to regular promotions including Manager of the Chemical Engineering division where he oversaw 350 engineers.

Following retirement and travel, Bob and Esther moved back to Madras where they have resided since. Having served faithfully in a variety of leadership roles for many years at Hermon Free Methodist Church in Los Angeles, he immediately became an active member of the Madras Free Methodist Church. He was elected numerous times as a delegate to both the Oregon and National Free Methodist Church denominational conferences serving on various committees. Active for many years with the local Gideon’s organization as well as Habitat For Humanity, he was generous with both his time and talents. Bob trusted in his Lord and Savior and his favorite hymn has the words “…He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me that I am His own…” Bobby, as he was called by his mother (much to the surprise of his young sons), passed from the arms of his wife into the arms of his Savior being called home with the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of thy Lord” – Mathew 25:21

He is survived by his wife, three sons, two granddaughters and his sister Francis Turner. He is preceded in death by his parents and his beloved sister Mary Forbes-Johnson.

A Celebration of Life and Memorial Service will be held at the Madras Free Methodist Church on April 8 at 11 A.M. followed by lunch.