FORSTER - J. Donald January 19, 2014. Beloved husband of Leone (Levis) Forster; dear father of Stephen (Lydia), David (Dianne) Forster, Donna Lee (John) Sheehan, Diane (Paul) Eodice and Denis (Virginia) Forster; grandfather of 14 grandchildren; brother of Joan (late Jim) Raab, David (Nancy) Forster and the late Albert and Michael Forster; also survived by many nieces and nephews. The family will be present Friday 4-8 PM at the PERNA, DENGLER, ROBERTS FUNERAL HOME, 1671 Maple Rd., Williamsville. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday at 10 AM at St. Stephen Church, 2100 Baseline Rd., Grand Island, please assemble at Church. Mr. Forster was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Mary Star of the Sea Council 4752, Knights of Columbus 4th Degree, Trinity Assembly, and a U.S. Army Veteran. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Alzheimer's Association . WNY, 2805 Wehrle Dr., Williamsville 14221. www.denglerrobertspernafuneral.com.
At 4 in the afternoon on Sunday, I answered a phone call from my parents. I had been waiting for the phone to ring. Earlier in the afternoon I had been sleeping and dreamt of my grandfather. After spending time with him and my family, he got a little choked up, gave me a hug, and left. I woke up and realized the meaning of the dream. When I answered the phone an hour later, my feeling was confirmed, my parents told me that he had passed away. At a time when emotions were flowing through me, I was still calmed and comforted by his last visit.
This final memory is characteristic of the way my grandpa was. He was always one to comfort and make us smile and laugh with his trademark "Grandpa Jokes". I remember him best sitting in his chair watching TV, having a beer or doing a crossword puzzle. I remember his mustache and stubble scratching me when he would give me a hug or a kiss. That scratchy hug sort or personifies him. He was rugged and a little rough, but warm and loving.
He was a man that wore many hats. Literally, about 200 of them that hung on the wall in the carport. He wore the figurative hats as well. He was a veteran and a grand night. He was a comedian, a role model, and a hero. He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather and for all of us, a friend.
He was a hard worker. A day didn't go by when he didn't do his best for his wife, children and eventually grandchildren. He loved to be outdoors, from camping and canoe trips with my dad and uncles in the scouts to trips to Montana in later years. The outdoors even lead him to Canada on a fishing trip that would bring him to his future wife. A few years ago at their 50th wedding anniversary, they looked just as happy as they did in their wedding photos. It's amazing to see what it looks like when two people are truly made for each other. He passed that love on to all of his children, and was fortunate enough to see them all share that love with their spouses and pass it down to their children.
He was always happy to see his family. You could always catch a hint of a smile forming under his mustache and he'd greet you with a "Hey there, guy" or "Hey chickey". It didn't matter if it was playing cards with grandma and Aunt Joan, sitting back and watching us play the card game on Christmas Eve, or seeing his out of towners on vacations back to Buffalo, he was always happy to see you, and always had a joke that would just make you shake your head and you couldn't help but laugh.
There is a closet door at my grandparents house with the heights of myself and all of my cousins marked on the inside from when we were just toddlers up through our teenage years. It showed how we all grew up with grandpa. It didn't matter where we lived, weather it was Buffalo, Montana, California or Carolina. Every one of us marked our growth on that door, with grandpa watching from his chair.
A few weeks ago, my aunt posted a joke on Facebook labeled as a classic "Grandpa Joke" that I could just imagine him telling. "Right before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, make sure that you lift your left leg. That way you start the year off on the right foot".
This really is a way to start off the year on the right foot. Although we have lost someone that meant so much to all of us, he has moved on to a better place. He can sit back in his chair, crack a beer and watch us all continue to grow, just as he did when we were kids. He has allowed us to come together to celebrate a great man. So despite the emotions that we feel, don't be sad. Be happy that he's started off this year on the right foot. Think of his calmness and his protection that we all have now more than ever. I know that he's here now, laughing at that joke, probably wearing a hat, and looking at all of us with that hint of a smile breaking from beneath his mustache.