More detail on this person: Thomas Foster Forbes, 74, died Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. Service: Memorial Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24, at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, 7341 Glenview Drive, North Richland Hills. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made in Tom's name to the Humane Society of North Texas, 1840 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth, Texas 76103, or the National Vietnam War Museum, Box 146, Mineral Wells, Texas 76068-0146. Tom was born Nov. 23, 1937, in Jacksonville, Fla., to Foster and Dorothy Wilkenson Forbes. The elder Mr. Forbes was one of the new breed of pilots, often referred to as "barnstormers," who traveled throughout the country performing at airshows in the 1920s and 1930s. It was at one such show that Mr. Forbes met Dorothy. Soon after, Mr. Forbes joined the CAA, the forerunner of the Federal Aviation Administration. When World War II broke out, the family was transferred to Seattle, then Shreveport, where Tom's sister, Carolyn, was born, then Albuquerque. When Bell Helicopter arrived in Fort Worth, the Forbes family soon followed. By then, flying was a family affair, as Tom, his mother and sister were licensed pilots. But Tom's passion was helicopters. Tom graduated from Polytechnic High School in 1956, Arlington State College in 1959 and Texas Wesleyan College in 1968. He joined the U.S. Army in 1960, attending flight school at Fort Rocker, Ala., and Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells. After graduation he was assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve, Unit 300th Aviation Company, where he served until 1973. In 1965 he joined Southern Airways. At Southern Tom found his calling as an instructor pilot. This period was critical to both instructors and students as many would serve in Vietnam, where the sound of rotor blades was synonymous with the conflict in Southeast Asia. In 1973, Tom was hired by Bell Helicopter International and moved to Esfahan, Iran. Tom lived and worked in Esfahan until February 1979, when civil war broke out in Iran and he returned to Fort Worth where he lived until his death. The friends Tom made at Southern and Bell Helicopter International would be friends forever, for Tom put no small price on friendship. Tom was a member of St. John the Apostle Church where he served as a communion minister and was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council #8512. He was an active member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and served on the board of directors for the National Vietnam War Museum. Upon his return to Fort Worth, Tom was employed by Russell Associates. He retired in 2008 after 30 years with the company. As a former associate of Tom's wrote, "...Tom was a great person, father, friend and employee. He will be missed." Tom was predeceased by his parents, his mother- and father-in- law, Mary and Elwood Knittle; a daughter, Molly Kathleen Forbes; and brother-in-law, Donald Baldwin. Survivors: His wife of 35 years, Ellen; daughters, Julie and husband, Eric Flanders, of Round Rock, Jennifer Ann Forbes of Bedford and Jennifer Mary and husband, William Elliott, of Cedar Hill; sister, Carolyn Baldwin of Olympia, Wash.; brothers-in-law, Tom and Dan Knittle; sister-in-law, Jeannie Knittle Sites of Bedford; grandchildren, Peyton, Elise, Kiley, Faith, Aiden and Daniel; and his faithful companions, Duke and Bea.
This information was last updated 11/08/2017
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 09/19/2018
Copyright © 1998 - 2018 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association