Obituary: Charles (Chuck) Andrew Forest July 3, 1938 – Nov 20, 2021

CHARLES (CHUCK) ANDREW FOREST July 3, 1938 – Nov 20, 2021

Charles Andrew Forest (Chuck) had a unique physical presence, a very memorable personality and a distinctive jolly laugh.

He died suddenly of a heart attack in Santa Fe at the age of 83.38356 years. A Celebration of Life will be held 11 a.m., Saturday, July 9, at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos. 

Vaccinations and masks are required in the church. 

Chuck was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Margaret Dahlgren (1903-1979) and Joseph (Schnitzmeier) Forest (1898-1958). He was the youngest of their 4 children, all of whom preceded him in death: John (1936), Gloria (1971), and Peter (1980). The last surviving sibling is his half-brother, Joseph Forest, living in New York.

Chuck is survived by his wife Nancy, son Charles M. Forest, grandchildren Katie and Nico Forest, daughter Anna  Marie Forest, and several nieces and nephews. 

When asked, “Where did you grow up?” Chuck liked to reply, “I’m still working on it.” Chuck was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and lived there through the 4th grade. When Chuck was in the 5th grade, the family moved to the little farm town of Galva, Illinois, near the Swedish colony of Bishop Hill, Illinois, where his mother was born.

Chuck played the trombone from 5th grade through undergraduate school. Each year he joined the  Marching Band, Concert Band, Pep Band and later a Big Band. Chuck was a member of the National Honor Society, was active in many clubs and acted in plays. He graduated with honors from Galva High School in 1956. 

At Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, Chuck completed majors in mathematics and chemistry. He continued playing in bands, acting in plays, joined clubs and fraternities. Two of his undergraduate summers were spent in the plant oils chemistry section of the Northern Regional USDA Laboratory in Peoria, IL. 

Chuck completed his Masters of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Arizona in 1962. Chuck spent the summers from June of 1961 to the fall 1965, working at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. The academic years from 1962-1965 were spent studying mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, teaching math at Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM, and teaching math and physics at Marian College of Fond du  Lac, Wisconsin. There, Chuck met his future wife, Nancy Rosenthal. They married January 29, 1966, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Nancy joined Chuck in New Mexico as he began working as a staff member at LASL. Los Alamos became their home for almost 56 years and was the birthplace of their 2 children. 

Including summers, Chuck worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for 33 years as a  mathematician. Since the answers to problems weren’t in the back of the book, he studied problems starting from basic principles. The work of finding a solution often began with his Mr. Peanut pencil and 3 x 5 notecards or napkins. He enjoyed the challenges at work and the friendship of his colleagues. He retired in 1998 at the age of 60. 

Art, live music, theater, all the sciences and history were lifelong interests. Chuck was always curious, a  seeker of knowledge and truth. He enjoyed beer, pool and camaraderie at the VFW, doing crosswords and cryptograms, grocery shopping and grilling. Chuck’s insightful nature and love of words came together in emails sent in the form of poetry, sometimes short and witty, sometimes very philosophical. A response back made his day. If you met Chuck around town, he probably gave you a good greeting and made you smile or laugh. He enjoyed visiting and discussing topics of interest with family, friends, and anyone with a dog. Chuck always had dog biscuits in a pocket for all the dogs he met. He thought that if there is a heaven, maybe the dogs would let him in. 

Chuck liked to say, “Anything you say is all right by you.” Hope this is all right by Charles of the Forest. He would wish Peace, Love and Joy to be with You and with All.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: 

  • Pajarito Environmental Education Center:
  • Self Help:; 
  • The Unitarian Church of Los Alamos; 
  • Los Alamos Geological Society Scholarship Fund at: P.O. Box 762, Los Alamos, NM 87544; or
  • Your local music or theater group, library, museum or animal shelter.
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