Jack William Forga was born on March 10, 1927 in Wright City, Oklahoma. He was the 5th of seven children born to James Henry & Mal Zenia Forga. The family also included a half sister Lois from his father’s 1st marriage as Lois’ mother died giving birth. Jack used to say “Mom would have a baby in summer & It would be way up in the spring before she had another one!” He attended Wright City High School where he was an outstanding football & basketball player. He also competed in Rodeos, specializing in Bull riding and Bulldogging. In his high school days he always owned and rode a horse. He lied about his age in 1944 in order to join the U.S. Navy and fight in World War II. He was only 17 years old but his 6 foot 2 inch, 200 pound extremely strong body made him look older. During his time in the Navy he was assigned to the USS Wasp aircraft carrier in Admiral William Halsey’s Pacific Fleet. During his service The Wasp was involved in the battles of Iwo Jima, Okinawa & Indo China. When the war ended his carrier was involved in operations off Shikoku island, Japan. HE first served as a flight desk aircraft spotter. He could type therefore he was assigned to The Wasp’s executive officer’s office. While in that assignment, his battle station was one of The Wasp’s twin 20 millimeter gun crews. He began as one of the two loaders on a twin 20 millimeter gun. During the battle Okinawa, his gunner was killed & he fired the twin 20 gun until the end of the war. During the Shikoku island operation his ship was hit by a bomb below & left of his gun position. Of the 7 man gun tub crew, Jack was the only survivor. Jack’s mother, a deeply religious woman, used to say “God wasn’t through with Jack. That’s why he survived!” At the end of the war The Wasp was assigned to the base at Bayonne, New Jersey. In January of 1946, Jack was given leave & he went to his parent’s home that was in Arkansas. It was there that he met Nellma Powell at a church family gathering. 11 days later he married Nellma, the love of his life. Through thick & thin they shared a full, eventful, loving 71 year life together until her passing in 2017. Following his military discharge Jack and Nell settled in Tyler, Texas where he was employed by Walter Bellamy Construction Co. In 1948, Bellamy Construction relocated to the then booming city of Monahans, Tx and that is where Jack & Nell lived until their deaths. Jack became Director of Public Works for the city of Monahans in 1954. In the spring of 1966 Jack was appointed City Manager of Monahans and remained in that position until his retirement in 1992. During his tenure as City Manager he presided over many improvements as Monahans grew with the times. Among the many projects were: paving of all the city streets, modernizing the trash collection & disposal system, improvement & expansion of the police department. In the early days of his tenure with the city Jack served as a policeman on weekends & holidays. Jack was a very civic minded person. He was an active member of the Monahans Jaycees, Lobo Booster Club, The Rotary Club, The Monahans Ambassadors, a founding and active member of the Monahans Economic Development Board and The Texas Municipal League. He served as president of the Rotary Club & Lobo Booster Club. He served as an officer of the statewide Texas Municipal League. He was selected Monahans Outstanding Citizen of the Year for 1991. He was an active Mason during the 50’s & early 60’s. Jack was a gifted craftsman: his talents included carpentry, metal working, mechanizing, plumbing, electrical. He was a skilled surveyor, concrete worker & heavy equipment operator. He could design, draft and read blue prints. He built his son Terry an amazing gasoline powered go cart complete with clutch, brake, accelerator, 3 speed transmission with reverse, metal body, bumpers, steering wheel with tie rods & fenders. Jack was a great provider for his family a loyal friend, husband, father, grandfather & great grandfather. He has a good base singing voice and could play the guitar & mandolin very well.
Jack is proceeded in death by his wife Nell, son Bobby Jack, Father James H. Forga, Mother Mal Zenia Forga, half sister Lois, brother James H. Forga Jr. (who lost his life in WWII), his sister Ruby Ard, sister Meredith Forga, brother Robert Forga, sister Naomi Rowe and sister Habin Forga.
Jack is survived by his son Terry Forga & wife Candice, his daughter Carolyn & Husband Herbert Lee, grandson Jacky Dumas, granddaughters Kim Farr & Courtney Hescht, great grandsons Jacob Dumas, Zane Hescht & Daxton Hescht and great granddaughter Bri Ann Dumas.
Viewing will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday, August 2, 2019 at Harkey Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, August 3, 2019 at the First United Methodist Church in Monahans, Texas with Beth Harrington, and Rev. Scott Hescht officiating, burial will follow at Monahans Memorial Cemetery.
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Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Harkey Funeral Home.
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