Gene was the youngest son of Henry and Carrie Forsythe. He grew up in the country near Iola, Wisconsin where he enjoyed the attentions of his older brother, David Forsythe and his two older sisters, Lorraine Strycharske and Ida Mae Gregerson. He also enjoyed the outdoors, basketball, spending time with friends and his grandfather, Joseph Knutson. He graduated from Iola High School in 1952 at the young age of 17. He worked briefly in Milwaukee before deciding to follow his older brother David Forsythe’s footsteps into the United States Air Force.
Gene proudly served his country from 1952 until 1972. He was deployed to go to Korea but was diverted to Iwo Jima. On leave from the Air Force, he met Barbara Sue Klemm. They married in 1955 and traveled extensively together through the United States and Europe, raising three children along the way. Gene earned the rank of Master Sergeant and was deployed to Viet Nam. Although he distinguished himself throughout his military career, he truly believed the real heroes never came home.
In 1972, Gene began his 18 year service to the community as Chief of Police in Manawa. He set the ground work to develop the police department from a one man department to what it was to become in later years. He further served his community by being on the Zion Lutheran Church Council, Manawa Lions Club President and City Council Member. He took special enjoyment in sponsoring the Manawa Police Girls Softball Team.
In later years, Gene and Barbara again developed a passion for traveling which took them to see family and friends throughout the United States and Ireland. They enjoyed spending the winters in Arizona always ready to return “home” in the spring. Surprisingly, Gene developed an artistic talent with wood working and stained glass. Not surprisingly, he took great joy in his children, grandchildren and great grandchild all by whom he will be deeply missed.
Gene was preceded in death by his wife Barbara, son David Gene, grand children Nicholas and Amy, father Henry, mother Carrie, sisters and brothers-in law Lorraine and Don Strycharske and Ida Mae and Raymond Gregerson, brother and sister-in-law David and Adeline Forsythe, brothers-in-law Rev. Keith Klemm and Mark Levezow and sister-in-law Sherry Pomeroy. He is survived by his sons: Attorney David Louis (Kay Anderson) Forsythe, Scandinavia; Raymond Gene (Karen) Forsythe, Henderson, Nevada; and daughter Michelle Rene (George) Waggoner, Almond; granddaughters Jessica (Jon) DeBoer, Washington State; Sarah Forsythe and Kathryn Forsythe , Henderson, Nevada; grandson John Waggoner, Stevens Point; and great-granddaughter Paisley DeBoer, Washington State. Gene was further survived by numerous nieces, nephews and their families.
Although Gene enjoyed his public service and his friends immensely, he has requested a private family service. The service will be officiated by Pastor Tom Theama at the Cline-Hanson-Dahlke Funeral Home in Manawa. Burial will be at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Town of Little Wolf. The family has established a memorial fund. Please send any memorials to P.O box 922, Manawa, WI 54949.