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GEOFFREY D. FORGIE
Born: July 2, 1940
Geoff Forgie was born in Brantford, Ontario, son of Hugh Crichton Forgie and Gwendoline Janet Holmes. When he was six months old his parents moved to Mount Vernon, New York were he spent his youth. His father was a professional badminton champion and his mother was a professional dancer. Geoff inherited their athletic and theatrical skills.
Geoff prepared for Yale at Hotchkiss. At Yale he was a swimmer. He was a member of Timothy Dwight College but left Yale in 1960 to join his father in their "badminton on ice show" with the Holiday on Ice organization. He also skated professionally with the show.
Geoff settled in England and earned his diploma in Management Studies from London Polytechnic. Subsequently, Geoff was employed by ICL. He worked in sales, where his natural charm enabled him to be a top achiever for many years, and a regular attendee at ICL's top achiever club. He then set up his own business specializing in helping young people find and finance their first home. In 1980, he returned to the computer industry and resumed his career in sales. Geoff was a Member of the British Institute of Management.
In 1987, Geoff started experiencing unusual discomfort in his upper right leg, which progressively gave him more and more difficulty walking. After 8 months of tests, in June 1988 he was diagnosed with MS. This forced some adjustments to his working life. He took all his knowledge in sales, and deployed that to good use in marketing, where he organized a number of highly successful marketing events for ICL, which later became part of the Fujitsu Group.
From the early days of his life with MS, Geoff determined to continue playing a positive role in the community. He became actively involved in charity work, and organized many fundraising events for MS research. Most notably, he spearheaded a fundraising campaign which raised over 1 million to establish a support center for MS sufferers. He managed to walk with the help of a tripod until 2006, when he was forced to use a powered wheelchair.
According to a laudatory obituary in his local newspaper in Shropshire, England, "He worked tirelessly and heroically to improve other people's lives. Shrugging off the debilitating effects of his progressive MS, and of cancer, he deployed his persuasive charm and endless invention, to achieve changes that would benefit thousands of people in Shropshire. As a member, then chairman, of Oswestry Access Group, he earned the cooperation of shopkeepers throughout the town in improving wheelchair access. He will be best remembered in Shropshire for his achievement in founding and developing Shropshire Disability Network (SDN). He discovered there were over 150 organizations in Shropshire alone with an interest in disability, each with its niche view of facilities and activities. He established a network to link together all individuals in Shropshire with disabilities, and their families, and provide a window to all the activities and facilities available to improve their quality of life. With the help of volunteers who were inspired by Geoff's vision, he achieved this by 2010. The SDN website he established is a reference site for information on all areas of life that affect people with disability. His secondary aim was to facilitate social interaction between people in the disability sector through meetings and social events. Quarterly SDN General meetings are now a well established part of the Shropshire scene."
Geoff's greatest joy was sharing time with his family. His son from his first marriage, Dean, with wife Anita and their son Daniel, Geoff's beloved grandson, live in Melbourne and Geoff spent time with them both in England and in Australia. Geoff met his second wife Sue in 1973, and they were married in 1975. Their daughter Jessica was born in 1988. In Shropshire they shared a love of good food, wine, and cooking and often entertained at their house. While they each were extremely busy individually, every Sunday was set aside for family time together.
He was, classmate Paul Bschorr writes, "a very special guy. Geoff started with us but left Yale after our sophomore year to join his parents in their ice capades business. He ultimately settled in England and I have kept up with him and his wife, Sue, and daughter, Jessica, over the years through letters, emails and visits whenever Anne and I got to England. Geoff was diagnosed with MS and for the last few years he had been totally wheel chair bound and disabled. However, as you will see from his obituary and the eulogy given for him, he never let the illness slow him down. He was truly one of the good guys!"