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Forstman, Henry Jackson1949

D.O.D 06/17/2012 - Henry Jackson Forstman ‘49

Jack Forstman, husband of Shirley Cronk Forstman ‘50, died in Nashville on Sunday, June 17, Fathers Day. Jack has to be one of the most distinguished Phillipians ever. He did his seminary and Ph.D. degree at Union Theological Seminary of New York. A theologian, he taught at Stanford and Vanderbilt School of Theology where he retired as Dean. Vanderbilt named him both Professor and Dean Emeritus. Through his writings, his part in scholarly ecumenical discussions - particularly between Roman Catholics and Protestants - and his influence on many doctoral students, he will long be remembered. For many years Jack and Shirley have been active leaders in the Vine Street Christian Church of Nashville where they sang in the choir.

While he has been in failing health in recent months, his demise was unexpected. His memorial service will be at Vine Street Christian Church in Nashville on Wednesday, June 20. His obituary likely can be accessed on the internet early this week. In lieu of flowers, friends may wish to make a memorial gift to Vine Street Christian Church or to the Jack and Shirley Forstman Scholarship Fund at Vanderbilt School of Theology.

The 1949 Phillipian includes the following next to Jack’s senior picture: Zollars, Blue Key, Who’s Who, Inter-Club Council, Gridiron, Class President, Class Friendliness, History Assistant, and Representative Phillipian – quite a list! He was President of Gridiron in the Fall of 1948. On weekends he served as Youth Director for the Christian Church in Arkansas City.

When Shirley Cronk graduated, she and Jack were married. They moved to Huntsville, AL, where Jack became minister of a new congregation being established in that new center for Rocket Research. After two years they moved to New York and Union Seminary. During his years at Union for seminary and graduate studies, Jack taught Greek, and was Associate minister & interim minister for Park Avenue Christian Church.

Jack grew up in Birmingham, AL, Shirley in Douglass, KS. Married over sixty years, they were parents to three children, now adults, David, Paul and Valerie. Shirley’s health is not good. David and his family live in Germany, Paul and his family in Nashville. Valerie, a Ph. D. in Hebrew Scriptures, is on the faculty/staff of Brite Divinity School at TCU. She is also a concert musician who often plays the flute with the Dallas Symphony.

An additional note from Bob Gartman: Jack and Shirley were special friends! I best knew him and his then college roommate, Bob Kieschnick ‘50 through GC. For four years as a student I served the church in Douglass, KS (near Wichita) where Shirley’s parents, Leonard and Sylvia Cronk, were pillars of the congregation and almost like parents to me. Over the years it has been a joy from time to time to visit with Jack and Shirley. I’m grateful to Janice Thrower Elliott, ‘ 48, who called me regarding Jack’s death. Janice has worked with Jack and Shirley in the Vine Street church for many years. Friends may email Shirley at Jack&Shirley@bellsouth.net. I can also provide a home address and telephone for Shirley.