Harrold Ray Forch of Longbranch passed away Jan. 2. He was born September 1937 in Paducah, Texas, to the Rev. Adam and Louise Forch. He was the second-born son of four, the eldest Adam, Jr., and younger brothers Ramon Lee and Karl.
Harrold loved animals and enjoyed many pets throughout his life. One pet was a pigeon named “Crawford” that Harrold rescued and tamed. Crawford rode on his shoulder and often got into trouble with the townsfolk who would say, “There goes that darn preacher’s kid’s bird.” Harrold’s latest pet was a little black puppy named “Gussie” who adored Harrold and stayed by his side constantly.
Besides animals, Harrold loved photography. As his skills grew, he dreamed of becoming a photojournalist. He began college after high school graduation but ran out of money. Harrold worked as a machinist for Asarco for 22 years. However, he never gave up his dream, and after Asarco closed, Harrold returned to college and graduated as a professional photographer. Later, Harrold worked for the shipyard until his retirement.
Harrold married Sherri Schafer in 1961 and welcomed son Harrold Ray, Jr. (Hal) in 1964 and daughter Susannah in 1972. Soon after, Harrold and Sherri divorced.
In 1977, Harrold met and married Grace Elaine Gjerstad and the new family of seven began their life together. The family moved out to the Key Peninsula to a little house in the woods in Longbranch, still the family home today.
Harrold was preceded in death by his brothers and his stepson, Kurtis Gjerstad. He is survived by his wife, Grace Elaine; stepdaughter Kristin (Dean) Miller of Port Orchard; son Hal (Donna) Forch of Arizona; stepson Kevin (Kathrine) Gjerstad of Norway; daughter Susannah (Brett) Rosener of Minnesota; 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Harrold accepted Jesus as a young boy and was a member of Lakebay Community Church for 41 years. One of his great joys was playing Santa at the church on Christmas Eve. Harrold is now home with his Lord.
A memorial service will be held at Lakebay Community Church at a later date.
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