Don Forsyth Sr. Son, brother, husband, father, teacher, inventor, entrepreneur and a proud self-made man. Don could often be recognized by his low-key comments, such as; "I think I can...", "this can go faster", "I think I can make this better" and "I can do this." But the best words for his children might have been "I don't care what you want to be, just do the best you can." I think I can... Young Don may have seemed impatient. He joined the Navy by fibbing about his age at 1944. As luck would have it, he became a Navy CB with the 3rd Construction Battalion in the Philippines...
Don Forsyth Sr. Son, brother, husband, father, teacher, inventor, entrepreneur and a proud self-made man.
Don could often be recognized by his low-key comments, such as; "I think I can...", "this can go faster", "I think I can make this better" and "I can do this." But the best words for his children might have been "I don't care what you want to be, just do the best you can."
I think I can...
Young Don may have seemed impatient. He joined the Navy by fibbing about his age at 1944. As luck would have it, he became a Navy CB with the 3rd Construction Battalion in the Philippines where his innovation and mechanical dexterity blossomed and gave him a clear grasp on creativity that followed and helped shape his life.
It can go faster...
Shortly after leaving the service as a first class seaman, Don got involved in racing - building engines and cars, driving and generally being the rascal we came to know and love.
Don met Rose and got married in 1947 and within nine years they had added four children to the family. Prior to going to the Navy, he worked with his dad at Continental Packaging learning the basics of box making. He then later went to work with his brother Bill at American Die and Box. He was earning a whopping $0.63/hr!
In the mid 50's, as opportunities presented themselves, he started working with his brother Harold at APEX die and box. The family legend is pretty sure that Harold had him cleaning up, as well as making custom dies and working with their customers. These were the years when he learned the business side of the die and box industry. And, while visiting one competitor, he met his second wife, Ann who captured his eye and his heart.
Ann also shared Don's love of racing and together they would travel around, racing, repairing and meeting good folks. Their travels finally brought them to every state and to many friends.
Relentless drive helped Don start Don's Dies in 1966. " I think I can do it better..."
His success in business as the quality craftsman that could emboss, finish and provide intricate cutting services let him expand the business.
Don senior summed up the process of "good work" pretty easily, and would say, "What you don't do with you're head, you'll do with your back." So, Don junior says, "before I start a project I have always tried to think it through to the outcome." Terry adds to this and says "Dad was the best example of how to respect yourself through your work and how you treated your customers. I still practice doing the best I can do by "crossing the t's and dotting the i's " and hope my children will continue to follow this same path." Sharon says, "Dad always gave me the courage to stand on my own and to figure things out, as well as a good laugh". And to this day Gary continues to create and work as hard as his Dad. Sandy remembers Dad always reminding her that "Your book learning don't mean a thing if you don't use your common sense". Lynn liked the teaching "When you put a handful of marbles in your mouth, every time you learn something, spit one out. When your mouth is empty, grab another handful of marbles. He's a funny guy, good father and great friend".
Between family vacations to camp, fish, travel and have fun, he spent hundreds of hours detailing large train dioramas with complicated track switching and hand painted scenery, a master at detail work.
While at work, and over your shoulder, Don would appear and comment - What's that for? Why's it like that? Is that done? At work Don was always everywhere - fixing problems, reducing costs, increasing speed, giving guidance and the inevitable opinion.
You can't make the best if you aren't.
I have done it better!
The 80's found Don embarking on his musical career! Throughout his life he'd hum a tune then embellish it with a little rhyme or a bit of prose. Mostly, it made the kids laugh - but, with Ann on his arm, they joined the Holy Trinity square dance club. After Don became a caller, he started the Orphan Squares and later started the Smile High Plus Group. Cowboy shirts, boots, mother of pearl buttons, bolo-ties, dress slacks and a quick tune brought Don to the fore as an accomplished Square Dance Caller. This inventor/engineer/square dance caller would sit for hours making models of how the dance would move as he practiced the calls he'd use at the next event.
And at the end, with closed eyes and his final breath you could almost hear him call his last round.... "Grab your partners!".... and the entire family has done just that. They've held hands, embraced and finished the dance with their Dad... with love, respect and their lives.
Don passed away on Nov. 27, 2012. He is survived by his loving family; sons Don (Shelley) Forsyth, Jr., and Gary (Christina) Forsyth, daughters Sharon (Doug) Forsyth-Morrison, and Terry (Tim) Genardi, step-daughter Sandy (John) Neely, step-son Lynn (Lee) Nicholson, sister Dorothy Richerson, also 9 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Ann Forsyth, brothers Bill, Harold, and Ernie Forsyth.
Visitation Sunday, 1-5pm at the mortuary. Services Monday, 12/3, 10am, in the Pavilion of Reflection located on the grounds of Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary. Interment to follow at Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary & Cemetery.