Alan Andrew Forsberg, 78, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, after a brief illness, with loving family by his side at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY.
December 27, 1943, started out as a snowy, blustery day when Charlie and Helen (nee Edgcomb) Forsberg left Knoxville, PA for the sixteen-mile trip to Soldiers and Sailors Hospital in Wellsboro, Pa but they made it without incident. After many hours of labor, the Doctor entered the waiting room and told Charlie he wasn’t going home with one child but two, twins. He was getting a buy one, get one free delivery and they only charged the Forsberg’s for one baby. Alan has been a bargain ever since.
He grew up in Knoxville, PA roaming the streets with cousins and friends or working at Luggs Grocery Store. Alan loved the valley and the people in it. He especially loved the sound of the train whistles as the engines traveled passed his boyhood home.
After graduation from Cowanesque Valley High School, class of 1961, Alan worked in and around the Knoxville area until he enlisted in the United States Army in July 1964.
Alan was an active volunteer Fireman while growing up. When the Methodist Church in Knoxville, PA caught fire, July 15, 1964, he entered the burning building and saved the cross, offering plates and candelabras before the building became fully engulfed in flame. He would foster a lifelong love for firetrucks and the fire service.
In March of 1965, as a member of the 720th Military Police Battalion, Ft. Hood, TX, Private Forsberg was assigned to the detail that protected Dr. Martin Luther King and other Civil Rights Leaders as they marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
Later that year Alan was sent to Vietnam for a one-year tour of duty as a member of the 615 the Military Police Battalion in Saigon. His duties included security for MACV Headquarters in Saigon, patrolling the towns and villages around Saigon and the protection of convoys traveling in the Bien Hao and Ton Son Nut areas. He returned to the states where he was honorably discharged in July 1966 from Ft. Dix with the rank of Specialist 4 th Class.
After a hiatus to serve his county Alan received his Associates Degree in Accounting from Corning in June 1968. In January 1969, armed with a stellar recommendation (“he comes from a good family, and he likes peanut butter and jelly”) from friend, Mona Judd, Alan called on his Great Aunt Esther’s young and beautiful fellow teacher, Diane Powers. They started a courtship that would last eight months and end with their nuptials on August 16, 1969. The couple took a two-week trip through the New England states before settling in at the University of Indiana in Pennsylvania where Alan pursued his Bachelor of Science of Business Administration.
Upon graduation from IUP in 1971, Alan took a job with K-Mart corporation in Greentree, PA where their daughter Christine was born. While living in Greentree Alan and Diane attended Game 1 of the 1971 World Series which was a Pittsburgh Pirates win! A few years later Alan, Diane and Christy would be joined by baby daughter Rebecca and the family would be complete.
After receiving a phone call from friend Ivan Lehman letting him know of a job at Dresser Rand Steam Turbine Division in Wellsville, NY Alan began what would become a 32-year career in the Financial Group at Dresser Rand. He, Diane, and the kids would move to Wellsville in 1974 where they become members of the First United Methodist Church in Wellsville for the rest of his life. He was the co-chairman of the United Methodist Men’s Group for many years. He would serve the church community in a variety of offices and committees most recently as Chairman of the United Methodist Men’s Group.
While in Wellsville Alan was very active in the church and the community. He was a long-time member of the church choir where Alan very rarely missed choir practice on Thursday nights. He was very active in his daughters’ academics and could be seen driving the band bus to the away parades and competitions. Alan was a 20+ year member of the Woodlawn Cemetery Board of Directors and long-term member of the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society. He would channel his love for baseball by coaching the FUMC Softball Team to back-to-back championships in the late 1980’s where he was famously quoted as saying “We had them all the way!” Later in life Forsberg took on the role of “Commissioner” of the ICS Spring Baseball Clinic where he was able to support the growth of Wellsville Little Leaguers, including his grandchildren.
After retirement Alan pursued many interests including traveling, model trains and he authored a book. Alan traveled to Alaska, the Holy Land, Ireland, Italy, Austria and wherever the Curls were stationed at the time. He loved to visit family and friends. He especially enjoyed the “Dresser Rand Lunch Crew” that met for lunch.
Alan took his love for trains to the next level by creating, with his loving wife Diane, a model of his hometown, Knoxville, PA, complete with 70 structures and a working model training, with every detail as close to original 1950’s as could be. The model is now on display at the Knoxville Public Library as a part of the “Rails to History “exhibit.
Alan is a published author, penning the railroad classic, Rail to History on the B&S, in 2021, his crowning opus and gift to us. Many railroad enthusiast have read and raved about Alan’s book citing information that they have learned and his easy writing style.
When Alan wasn’t creating models or writing important classics he enjoyed being around family or enjoying the night’s sounds on his back porch with his wife Diane. He loved visiting historic sites to marvel at the architecture and soak in the enormity of what happen at that location. He was a huge Bills fan and is convinced this is the BILLS year to win the Super Bowl. Let’s Go Buffalo! Alan despised the NY Yankees. His two favorite teams were the Pittsburgh Pirates and whoever played the Yankees that night!
He never missed one of his grandkids’ events if he could help it including chaperoning the Attica Railway excursions, baseball, softball, basketball, football, track and field, swimming, soccer, wrestling, dance recitals, concerts, musicals, honor assemblies, graduations, and commissioning.
Alan organized and chaired the Edgcomb Family Reunion to keep the members of the family together for generations to come. As family was very important to him.
He will be known for his genuine love for his Country, his Family, and his Friends. When you met Alan, you may have been strangers, but when you parted company, you had made a friend for life. He truly loved his neighbors and enjoyed snow blowing their sidewalks or visiting with them when he saw them.
Alan was preceded in death by his twin sister Judy Griggs (Haymarket, VA) and two brothers-in-law, John Williams (Elmira, NY) and Keith Cooper (Wellsboro, PA)
In addition to his loving wife of over 53 years Diane, Alan is survived by two sisters; Mary Williams (Elmira, NY) and Hilma Cooper (Wellsboro, PA) and a brother-in-law John Griggs (Haymarket, VA); two daughters, Christine (Joseph) Hart (Wellsville, NY) and Rebecca (Jason) Curl (Ft. Drum, NY) and seven grandchildren; Eoin Hart (Ft. Hood, Tx); Olivia Hart, Aidan Hart, and Isabelle Hart of Wellsville, as well as Adrienne Curl (Oakridge, TN); and Alex Curl and Allison Curl of Ft. Drum, NY. He is survived by many nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly! He was so proud of all their accomplishments.
Alan had a deep sense of faith and was a role model for the younger generation on how to live your faith. He will best be known as a true and faithful servant of Our Lord and what more could anyone ask for.
Perhaps the life of Alan Forsberg could best be summed up by a quote on his Wikipedia listing created and submitted by his grandchildren; “Author, Activist, Singer, Philanthropist, and most importantly…. Papa.”
As we live our busy lives, please take a minute to listen to the night sounds, and as you do, when you hear the “peepers” think of the kind and gentle soul we all knew as Alan Andrew Forsberg, and smile. He “would be happy for you!”
Friends are invited to call on Saturday, November 12 from 1 – 2 PM, at the First United Methodist Church of Wellsville, 79 Madison Street. A Celebration of Life will immediately follow at 2 PM in the church. Please consider memorial donations to: The Camp at Finley, 2334 Sunnyside Road, Clymer, NY 14724; or the Hart Comfort House, 141 East State Street, Wellsville, NY 14895. To leave online condolences please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com