Former Theatre faculty dies of lung cancer
By Bill Jacobs, AFT 6157-R Retiree Chair
A great light went out when George Forrester died from stage four lung cancer on Tuesday, Nov. 14 , 2017, at the age of 86. George taught speech, drama, film, and acting at both SJCC and EVC; he also directed numerous memorable plays over his long and illustrious career. During that career, he received the Kennedy Center Award for Performing Arts, the Susan Hammer Award for Dedication to the Arts and numerous prestigious and important awards.
He also served on the Board of Directors for Los Lupenos and as Vice President for the American College Theater Festival. After his retirement from teaching and directing in 1995, he continued to influence the theater community by serving as a visiting adjudicator of high school productions for the American Musical Theater of San Jose. In this activity, he was joined by his lifelong companion and wife, Gilda, who, as an actor and teacher, herself, shared George’s passion for theater. They also shared the creation of three wonderful children and eight grandchildren.
Those of us who were lucky enough to know George well were witness to the magical effects of the arts on a receptive individual. Throughout his adult life, George read/attended/viewed an average of about one play and several films per week (George owned a library of most films worth watching). Each reading/viewing experience included a careful analysis of the production in terms of technical craft considerations such as set(ting), lighting, costuming, acting, etc.
But more importantly, a lifetime of interaction with those dwelling within the worlds of novels, plays and films — the Humanities Effect — helped provide the fine-tuning that created such a person as George Forrester, a person who magically brought out the best in all those whom he affected, whether family members, friends, actors or students.
George also never forgot how important the Union was, as he continued to be active in the Retiree Chapter as both the vice president and the treasurer. He and his wife Gilda attended numerous conventions in both California and Washington, D.C. The light of his intensity, care and love for others shone brightly, and we will miss him.
For those who want to celebrate and remember his life, a memorial will be held in the theater at Del Mar High School, in San Jose, 1224 Del Mar Ave., CA 95128, on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 2 p.m.