Forte, Robert – Obituary

Robert “Bob” Forte, 63, of Halfway, died Sept. 10, 2009, at his home.

His life was celebrated Tuesday at his home in Halfway.

Bob was born on Dec. 21, 1945, at Akron, Ohio, to Mary and Tony Forte. He started working with his dad at the machine shop at an early age and continued working for him after school and during the summer all the way through college.

He played basketball throughout high school, college and the army (not to mention the great teams he played with in Pine Valley). After graduating with a master’s degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, he was drafted into the U.S. Army.

He was lucky enough to play basketball and volleyball for Fort Campbell.

After his military service, he traveled cross-country and discovered the West. He learned about organic gardening, worked as a professor at Linn-Benton Community College at Albany, and helped run the cooperative demolition-recycle business known as The Other Lumber Company.

Bob first saw Pine Valley in 1978 from the top of Cornucopia. He had backpacked in from the Minam River, and in his exploring made his way to the back side of Cornucopia. As soon as he reached the top of the ridge, he fell in love with the valley and had been in love with it ever since, his family said. As he would explain to anyone who would listen, the place and the community in which he lived were more important to him than what he did as a profession.

He was able to draw on his background in business in order to become a tax man and found a way to make a living in his beloved valley. Though it might be hard for his graduate school professors to recognize their teachings, Bob’s business acumen was part of what he could offer to his tax clients.

One might mistake Bob’s photo albums for a history of the United States 1945 to present. There are photos of a clean-shaven Army man next to images of a long-haired hippie with a bushy beard traveling cross-country in a blue van. The albums include a basketball star, a young boy surrounded by Italian relatives, and a man with a handle bar mustache seated on his easy-rider motorcycle.

The photos also include a young businessman golfing with his professors at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, a recycle boy with a grub hoe, a family man cheering at the ball games, a gardener, and a tax man playing cribbage and selling coffee and Kromer caps.

All of these various characters are Bob. If it has been hard for our country to bridge all these diverse times, you have to wonder how he did it within himself. Yet he seemed to do it with grace and joy and perhaps that was the key – he always saw the common thread between us all, according to his family and friends.

Bob shared his life with his wife, Coco, and three daughters, Cara, Myra, and Lila (and their three foreign exchange students, Jei, Anja and Pia). Whether preparing for Halloween parties, having snowball fights, driving hours to see a ball game, hiking in the Wallowas, swimming in the Snake, camping in Utah, or just hanging out and playing cribbage, he was in the middle of the action.

He loved to watch his children and everybody else’s play sports, which turned him into a rabid Pine-Eagle Spartans fan. He was also a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Browns and the Cleveland Indians, a testament to his great tenacity and outrageous hope.

No portrait of Bob would be complete without describing an extra tall man with an even bigger heart and spirit. He will be missed, his family said.

Survivors include his wife, Coco Forte, and his children, Cara Rose, Myra Rasmussen, and Lila; his sister and brother-in-law, Mary Ann and Louie Sharpless; nieces, Mary Lynn and Diana, and nephew, Don.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary and Tony Forte.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Pine Eagle Clinic or Mountain States Tumor Institute through Tami’s Pine Valley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 543, Halfway, OR 97834.

Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon September 21, 2009
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor



White, Judy Wallis. Baker County, Oregon Obituaries. Published by Copyright 1999-2013, all rights reserved.

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