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Sen. Jim Forrester, 1937-2011, remembering a public servant’s legacy




Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1937, Jim Forrester spent much of his life in the service of others, including in the U.S. military, the community, in government and as a doctor.

After years of legislative service as a member of the minority party, he became Deputy President Pro Tempore, or the number-two leader, of the N.C. Senate this year when Republicans took control for the first time in more than a century.

During the recent legislative session, Forrester championed the Defense of Marriage Act, which seeks to bolster the state’s ban on gay marriage. Voters will have a chance to vote in a referendum on the bill in May.

The N.C. Department of Administration announced Tuesday that Gov. Beverly Perdue has ordered all North Carolina flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Forrester on the day of his interment.

Lincoln County Republican Party Chairman Bradley Putnam released a statement Monday upon hearing of his death, saying, “We are saddened to hear of Sen. Forrester’s passing today.”

“We would like to extend our prayers and condolences to Mary Frances and all of his family,” he continued. “Everyone who worked with Sen. Forrester in politics knows him as a very honorable and understanding man. He always stood by his principles and    morals and never backed off either.”

“With his leadership in North Carolina, his mark has been left with all of us. Sen. James Forrester was also a general in the National Guard and a county commissioner, and he served 22 years as state senator. Sen. Forrester will be missed greatly by his GOP family as well as his own family.”

N.C. Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, recalled to the Times-News on Tuesday that his first vote as the representative of Lincoln County was on Forrester’s Defense of Marriage Act, adding that the senator will be missed not only locally but by Conservatives across the state, as well.

Saine also released a statement Monday, saying, “Sen. Forrester will be missed. His leadership for our state while serving in the minority party for years should be noted and appreciated. He stuck to his beliefs and ultimately saw those prevail in 2010 when the GOP made history and took both houses. My prayers and thoughts are with his family as we mourn with them on their loss.”

Forrester is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mary Frances, three daughters, one son and eight grandchildren.

As of press time, funeral arrangements for Forrester are still pending.


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