The funeral Mass for Deacon Thomas E. Forster was celebrated March 25 at the Church of the Seven Holy Founders in Affton.
Deacon Forster, age 71, died March 20. Born in St. Louis, he married Bonnie Bohn in 1971. They had three children. Deacon Forster worked for the U.S. Defense Contract Administration Services in St. Louis.
Deacon Forster was ordained to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate in 1985 by then Archbishop John May. He was assigned to Seven Holy Founders Parish, serving there until 1996. He was assigned to Annunciation Parish in Webster Groves, serving there until 2005 when he was assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Valley Park. In 2010, Deacon Forster returned to Annunciation in Webster Groves where he worked through 2011. He was then reassigned to Sacred Heart in Valley Park, serving until 2015 before returning to Seven Holy Founders and served until his retirement on Aug. 9, 2018.
Deacon Forster also spent 25 years in various assignments in the archdiocese’s Diaconate Office. He served on the Deacon Personnel Board where he developed the first deacon policy manual and assisted in managing diaconal assignments; the McNichols Fund where he assisted in providing welfare grants to deacons in need; the Gene Barron Fund providing of academic scholarships in schools, and as the associate director of diaconal ministry and life where he assisted deacons in the living out their ministry.
Deacon Forester’s duties included the sacramental functions of a deacon, specifically assisting at Mass, conducting wake services and attending funerals, leading Liturgy of the Word and Communion services when needed, performing baptisms, conducting benedictions and leading Stations of the Cross. Prior to his retirement, Deacon Forster worked as a pastoral associate, PSR teacher, and served on the board of directors for Cardinal Ritter Senior Services while working extensively with people petitioning the Metropolitan Tribunal for annulments.
Deacon Forster told the St. Louis Review in 2001 about ministering to an elderly woman dying of cancer. He said that helped him understand the true meaning of being a permanent deacon. “It can give you the opportunity to actually involve yourself in other people’s lives and to minister to them,” he said. “And to me, that is the greatest privilege of the diaconate.”
Survivors include his wife, Bonnie Forster; three children, Jeannie Stiles, Jacquelyn Forster and Julie Kershman; and one grandson. Burial was in Resurrection Cemetery.