Forrest WARD

Oct 21, 1957 – Jun 5, 2015

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Forrest Ward graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1976, but he never left his alma mater, at least not for long. He went off to play college football, drive a Metro bus and even coach a rival team. Each time he returned to the school at Northeast 66th Street and 15th Avenue Northeast.

For parts of five decades, Forrest was a fixture on the Roosevelt sidelines, if not in the hallways, mentoring and tutoring kids. Four months ago, he entered the Roughriders athletic hall of fame, rewarded for his unwavering devotion.

Forrest maintained his deep and passionate connection to his beloved school until his death on June 5, 2015. His body finally gave in to complications caused by a freakish traffic accident nine years earlier. He was 57.

To the end at Swedish Medical Center, Forrest was surrounded by Roosevelt coaches, players, parents, friends and family members, each coming to do what he could never do -- say goodbye.

Forrest was born in Seattle on Oct. 21, 1957, as the third of four children to Leo and Oreba Ward. He would grow up to be a football and track star at Roosevelt High, leading the former team in receiving as a senior and winning the Metro North Division low hurdles for the latter that same year.

He would pattern himself after his father, a kind and generous man, and tirelessly share himself with others. After attending Spokane Falls Community College and playing football, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. Beginning in 1979, he became a coach.

Forrest coached football, basketball and track at Roosevelt. He also coached basketball at O’Dea, serving as an assistant for Gregg Kalina, a former Roosevelt classmate.

He was not motivated to become a head coach, not interested in the glory and power that came with being the person in charge, not enamored with the spotlight cast on the leader. He simply wanted to build character and confidence in the generations of athletes that followed him.

While coaching, Forrest worked as a Metro bus driver, an Athletic supply retail clerk and Washington State Children’s Home counselor. At the latter, he would take boys who didn’t have a father home to meet his.

Two tragedies would impact his world. In 1990, his younger brother Wendell, with whom Forrest had proudly coached Roosevelt football for three years, was killed in a shocking accident with daughter Jocelyn, 2. They had driven out to Carnation to look at the cows when a logging truck lost its load and crashed into them.

Sixteen years later, Forrest had his own unwanted moment with the bizarre. He was on foot when he was struck by an SUV driven by someone talking on a cell phone and not paying attention. Rescue crews had to jack up the vehicle to free him. He was left with untold injuries, some that brought long-term health complications and finally his death.

While coaching and tutoring students, and doing it at his favorite school, Forrest never missed an opportunity to salute his departed brother. While receiving his induction to the RHS hall of fame in February, Forrest tearfully shared the moment with Wendell. Four months later, he was gone. No doubt, the two siblings have been reunited.

Forrest was preceded in death by his mother Oreba Collins Ward, his brother Wendell Ward and niece Jocelyn Ward. He will be especially missed by his father Leo Ward, his brother Gregory Ward (Paula) of Yorba Linda, California, Hamed Rahman (Lucy) of Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), and his sister Debra Ward of Seattle, Washington. Forrest will also be missed by his nieces and nephews Alan Ward of Yorba Linda, California, Travis Ward-Osborne of New York, New York, Kyra Ward and Peyton Osborne of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Asha Dean of Seattle, Washington, Courtney Dean of Atlanta, Georgia, Brook Ayinde Buxton of Tokyo, Japan, Jasmin Rahman of Vancouver, British Columba (Canada) and Uzam Rahman, Sara Rahman and Lila Rahman of Dublin, Ireland (UK), Megan Fell Willis of Seattle, Washington, Brandon Fell of Sammamish, Washington, Michael David Casale of Rocklin, California, Kelsey McDonald Yuse of Austin, Texas and Corbin McDonald of Genesee, Idaho. Forrest will definitely be missed by a close group of friends he truly considers brother, Scott McDonald, Paul Harshman, Chris Harshman, Matt Harshman, Kent Woodworth Tim McKey, John Lamont and Marty Johnson. He will also be missed by a host of cousins, friends and the people he both coached, and coached with and against.



Derek W Hartsfield
Seattle, WA
Jun 9, 2016

So sorry to hear about the passing of Forrest. I went to Western with him in the late 1970's. He was always fun to be around, he will be missed.

Leah Larson Rei
Seattle, wa
Jul 16, 2015

Forrest was a gift to us all. Just running into Forrest at the Seattle Athletic Supply, or around town, would be a special treat. That smile! He remembered everyone from the old neighborhood and never had a bad word to say about anyone.

My thoughts are with his family and close friends.

Catherine Bailey
Seattle, WA
Jun 23, 2015

I have such fond memories of growing up together in the neighborhood and I'm so happy to have reconnected again after all these years. I ran into Forrest at the Santa Fe Cafe a few months ago and felt a little embarrassed that I didn't recognize him at first. His smile, his voice and happy personality got me back immediately! Knowing that Forrest, Mama Ward and Wendell can rejoice together in Eternity is a comfort as I try not to dwell in the sadness of his passing.

Ward Family, please accept my deep condolences and those of the rest of the Bailey family. We all hold you as dear, long-time friends and hope that you find peace and comfort in this difficult time.

Hope, David and Abby
Houston, TX
Jun 19, 2015

To Mr. Ward, Debb, Greg and the entire Ward Family: We are praying for you all during this time of deep sadness. Forrest and Mrs. Ward are with the angels. Mrs. Ward is cooking for them and Forrest is coaching them.

Allen G. Black Jr
carpinteria, ca
Jun 18, 2015

I met Forrest years ago when my brother Tyehimba(David Buxton) and his wife Shirley, used to take their son Brook to Mama and Papa Ward's..along with Fred and Josie Dean's daughter Asha. This was about much more than childcare though, it was about family! As time went on and life moved on, I would run into Forrest from time to time and we would catch up. I would run into him at parties, at my job at Green-lake albertsons, on his bus route etc! He was always the same cat! Big smile...and always genuine! I will miss knowing he is just a phone call away, or a message away on social media. Forrest is fine now, he is at peace and resting up for the next phase. My heart goes out Mr. Ward, Greg and Paula, Debra...and all of the rest of the family! May you find peace with this..... in the knowledge that Forrest suffers no more! Much love and respect from Allen G. Black Jr, representing the Black family and Tyehimba Yafeu, along with Brook Buxton representing the Buxton family. Rest in paradise Forrest!

Lisa Martinez
Tacoma , Wa
Jun 18, 2015

You will be greatly missed. It was an honor to grow up with you in the neighborhood, to know you throughout childhood an on into adulthood. You were a great supportive friend during the years following my divorce and continued on into the present. Love you and until we meet again on the otherside . Farewell my friend...

Annie Reed
Lynnwood, WA
Jun 18, 2015

We met 33 years ago at the Bite of Seattle at Greenlake, met Forrest, Wendell and Mike Davis. We remained friends all the years. Forrest and I went on a few dates last year even, it was such a nice time to be treated like a queen! Both he and Wendell were amazing souls! I am a better person for knowing both of them.

Last year when we dated, we enjoyed music and fine food, Rays Boat House and more. We were both in pain, comparing medical we were old or sumpthin! (Haha) But we were gentle with each other, just gave our best shot at holding each other even so, it was sweet and tender. I must say, most men would never be able to relate to me like he did. We were both bionic and had other issues going on too. I'm thankful he had a heart of gold and was always positive no matter.

My life is richer for knowing Forrest Ward! Thank you for sharing your life with me! See you on the other side soon Fo!

Eddie Pompey
Seattle, Wa
Jun 16, 2015

May you be blessed as now you are the coach guiding the angles. You will be missed until we all meet again.

Allison Smith
Des Moines, WA
Jun 15, 2015

The warmth and energy of your spirit for Roosevelt and all its students, your students, will never falter. We will carry it on. Miss you Coach!!

Maria Perez Mason
Kirkland, WA
Jun 15, 2015

You will not be forgotten. Rest now.

Marcia (Marcee) Jones
Seattle, WA
Jun 15, 2015

Enjoy the game, my cousin, in no pain! You're free!

Debra Ward
Bellevue, WA
Jun 15, 2015

Miss you kiddo.

This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.