A popular “family man” who spent much of his efforts donating his time to area service clubs died Thursday afternoon, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Brad Forster was 66.
His spouse, former White Rock mayor Judy Forster, posted on her Facebook page that “the love of my life, Brad Forster, who I shared 40 years of marriage with, passed away peacefully today.”
The couple have two children, Matthew and Shayne.
A popular member of White Rock Rotary Club, Forster had a more-than 40-year record of community service, which had also included volunteering with the Elks, the Langley Association for Community Living, his church and the White Rock Health Society committee.
He also participated in a humanitarian trip to Zambia and had raised funds for a school and community centre there.
A native of Surrey, Forster was a Princess Margaret Secondary and BCIT grad who also studied business administration at Simon Fraser University. He worked as a consultant with Silver Forest Enterprises, and had previously worked at Jackpine Lumber Co. and Beaver Lumber.
“It’s a real loss to the community,” said longtime friend Mayor Wayne Baldwin, who also noted Forster was “a good family man – he did his best by them.”
In addition to cancer, Forster had also had a history of heart problems that had necessitated several bypass operations and implanting of stints, Baldwin said.
“Life had been difficult for him from a health standpoint for the last decade,” he added.
“He was in remission from the cancer for a while, and everybody hoped maybe, just maybe… but then it came back with a vengeance. It was really fast.”
It was a challenge that Forster met with typical bravery, Baldwin said.
“No matter how bad it got, he was always upbeat.”
Baldwin described Forster, who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2011, as “a good friend, a really good and kind person – a great support to Judy, as mayor.”
He said that, in addition to being in the same Rotary Club, he and Forster had known each other from Judy Forster’s almost 18 years on council (she was a councillor from 1991-2002, mayor from 2003 to 2008), during the time Baldwin was city manager.
“We used to joke that he was Judy’s chauffeur,” he said.
Another friend, former White Rock councillor and South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce executive director Cliff Annable, said he will treasure memories of good times with Forster.
“I also think of his community spirit – what he contributed was as good as it gets,” he said.
“He and Judy were so involved in so many good things – as a couple they worked so well together. Wherever Judy was, there was Brad.”
He said he also appreciated that “you knew where you stood” with Forster.
“What you saw with Brad was what you got – he was an honest, honest man with a big heart.”
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Presbyterian Church worship centre, 1480 George St.