July 12, 1918 - May 14, 2013
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Gerald Forrest, age 94, passed away on Tuesday, May 14, 2013.
Born in Berlin, Germany on July 12, 1918 to Leopold and Else Feigenbaum, they were forced to leave Germany in 1933 due to rise of the Nazi Party. Gerald (Jerry) and his brother Henry (now deceased) left by bicycle, while their parents left by train, reuniting with long time friends, the Brodu family, in Paris. From there, they travelled to Scotland, where Jerry learned English. As his parents emigrated to the US, Jerry went to live in the Palestine Protectorate on a moshav near Gedera.
In 1939, Jerry once more reunited with his parents in New York, where he enlisted in the US Army and was quickly inducted into US Army Combat Intelligence. He trained, among many other Europeans at Camp Ritchie, MD, becoming one of the famed "Ritchie Boys" who interrogated prisoners of war. He then returned to England with the other Ritchie Boys for the upcoming invasion. On June 6, 1944 he landed on Utah Beach, and made his way across Europe with the 10th Armored Division. Campaigns included the Battle of the Bulge, and in the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich at the end of the war. Recognition for his contributions included the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Returning to the US at the end of the war in Europe, he rejoined his family in Los Angeles to work in the family business, Forrest Industries, and to marry Esther. He spent nearly the rest of his life in LA, working in the aerospace industry and helping to raise their two sons, Mike and Steve. In the early 1980s, he returned to Israel, working to repair tanks for the Israeli Defense Forces. On his return to the US, he started a woodworking and furniture making business that he maintained successfully until his retirement.
His greatest gift to his family was his love of them, followed by his passion for the mountains which he successfully passed on to his sons. Jerry had a huge personality, filled with humanity, humor, intelligence and caring. He was one of those rare people that, once met, was unforgettable.
He will be sadly missed by his children Michael (Jaque), Stephen (Rosamund), his grandchildren Jessica (Adam Pignatelli), Aaron (Yasmin Vobis), and Timothy, and his great grandson Ethan Forrest Pignatelli. He loved them all, and played a major role in all of their lives as the pillar of the Forrest family.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on July 13, 2013