Gary Thomas Forse
Gary Thomas Forse passed away on July 5, 2019, after unexplained complications from an emergent open heart surgery. He was two days shy of celebrating his 64th birthday.
Gary was married to his devoted and loving wife, Camille and they would have celebrated 43 years of marriage in August. He was blessed with two children, Allison and Stephen, and had the great joy of spending 3 years with his precious grandson, William.
Gary was born in Freeport, Texas on July 7, 1955, to Clarence and JoAnn Forse, and spent most of his life in Lake Jackson, Texas. He graduated from Brazoswood High School in 1973 and continued his education at Sam Houston State University where he was a member of the jazz band and received a degree in Music Education.
Gary married Camille, his high school sweetheart, in 1976, and upon graduating from Sam Houston, they moved to Sweeny, Texas where Gary would take on the role of band director — first at the junior high and then becoming the head band director of Sweeny High School.
In 1986 he left the education field and pursued a career in fundraising with Express Industries. This career let him continue to work with schools and music groups, and gave him the same flexible schedule with plenty of summers, weekends and holidays off to spend quality time with his family and go on many memorable family vacations. He was ever-present in his children’s lives all through their childhood and beyond.
During his time with Express, he stayed close to his love of music by joining, and then directing, a 20-piece big band in Clear Lake, Texas called Brass, Rhythm and Reeds. He was a part of this band for more than 30 years, and they have played at various events all over the Houston area including the Apollo 13 movie premiere at Space Center Houston.
Gary’s love of music carried over into every part of his life. He listened to jazz at every opportunity, was a leader of music at his parishes, and directed the music for summer musicals at the Brazosport Center for Arts and Sciences.
In 2015, Gary was ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church after years of formation at St. Mary Seminary in Houston. His vocation as a deacon has undoubtedly brought so many people to Christ, and his absolute favorite part of this ministry was being able to celebrate the sacrament of Baptism for families and their new babies. Baptizing his first grandson, William, and witnessing the wedding of his son Stephen and his wife Shelley, were certainly two of his proudest moments as a deacon.
Gary had an incredible personality and was passionate about the things he loved. His love of Jesus and the Church spilled over as he led Bible Studies and Faith Formation classes at his parish St. Michael. He spent time each week working with juveniles at the detention center, and was a role model and mentor to so many youth there who lacked a father figure. He and Camille were asked to be a mentor couple to a new diaconate class that is currently in formation, and the impact he has made on these soon-to-be deacons is incredible. They have all expressed how blessed they have been by his leadership and witness. The absence of his life in our community will be palpable, and we pray that those who have been left behind will honor Gary by carrying on the work that he started.
Gary was preceded in death by his father, Clarence Forse.
He is survived by his wife, Camille; his daughter, Allison Shaughnessy (husband Brendan); his son, Stephen Forse (wife Shelley); and his grandson, William Shaughnessy. He is also survived by his mother, JoAnn Forse; his brother, Terry Forse (wife Linda); and brother, Tim Forse (wife Dana). He has a great many nieces, nephews, and cousins who are also mourning his loss.
The family would like to thank the surgeons, doctors and nurses at the Heart and Vascular Institute at Memorial Hermann Hospital. The care Gary received was phenomenal, and we especially thank our nurse Theresa Reed who was with us for three of the most difficult days.
There will be visitation on Friday, July 12, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. with a Vigil service at 7:15 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be on Saturday, July 13, at 10:00 a.m. All services will be at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Lake Jackson, Texas. Pallbearers will be David Carrasco, Burt Martin, Mike Rodriguez, Michael Jones, Tom Ronayne, and Mark McBurnett.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Gary’s memory may be sent to Houston Coalition for Life in support of their Mobile Crisis Pregnancy Center which offers tangible assistance to women facing crisis pregnancies. www.HoustonCoalition.com P.O. Box 301094, Houston, TX 77230.