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James Earl Forrest passed away on Thanksgiving Day, November 22 2018, at the age of 89.
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, James attended Omaha Central High School. While attending Central, he was involved in sports, participating on the track team and as a running back on the football team where, according to him, he caught “many” passes. He majored in psychology at the University of Nebraska where he also minored in French, a language he enjoyed a great deal, speaking it almost more fluently than English. He, his wife, and mother in-law, all graduated the same year with a B.S. in psychology, B.A. in education, and M.S. in education respectively.
He started his career with the Douglas County Juvenile Court, in Omaha. In 1961, he was offered two positions, one in Michigan and the other in California. Having experienced enough of midwest winters, he and his young wife chose to move their family of five to California where he continued to work as a juvenile probation officer for San Mateo County for the next seven years.
In 1968, he was appointed Executive Director of the San Mateo County Human Relations Commission. According to an article in the Omaha Star, a local newspaper at the time, he saw his role as doing more than “… putting a lid on possible trouble spots but preventing the trouble before it happens”. He had a long record of community involvement which included groups such as the Fair Housing Council of San Mateo, Northern California Service League, Citizens Advisory Committee on Minority Group Education for the San Mateo Union High School District and the San Mateo Chapter of the NAACP.
He left a legacy of faith, serving as the chairman of the deacon board of Palma Ceia Baptist Church of Hayward, Ca and leading Bible studies for many years.
He is predeceased by four sisters, Alma Lloyd, Ruth Lloyd, Faye Daniels, and Audrey Forrest. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Nadine (nee Hancock), eldest son Stuart, two daughters, Gail (Kiyo) Huffman and Lynne (Neil) Cudden, three grandchildren, Bryan Huffman, Reiko Huffman, and Zoe Cudden and many nieces and nephews.
Services will be held Friday, November 30th at the Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery, 7900 E Main St. Mesa, AZ 85207. Viewing will be held at 9am followed by the service at 10am.