Thomas (Tom) Forster, of Plumas Eureka Estates, passed away suddenly in Reno, Nevada, on May 6, 2018, after a brief illness.
A fourth generation native of Marin County, Tom was born on March 27, 1958, at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae to Jack and Diane Forster.
He is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Maureen Forster; his mother, Diane Forster; older sister, Lynn Sogoian, of Red Bluff; younger brother, Dan Forster (Ania), of Sydney, Australia; and younger sister, Pam Rosa (Kevin), of Petaluma; and stepdaughters, Michelle (Jim) Kossivas, of Navarro, and Chritsine (Richard) DeRienzo, of Spain.
He was pre-deceased by his father Jack Forster.
Tom was raised in Corte Madera and attended the Larkspur Corte Madera School District. Graduating from Redwood High School in 1976, he was an avid member of Redwood Crew, the precursor to today’s Marin Rowing Association. He completed ROTC Training during this time and received accreditation at the former Hamilton Air Force Base. Tom was a graduate of College of Marin, California State University, Chico and the University of San Francisco where he earned a master’s degree in human resources and organizational development.
Tom was instrumental in the development of Skywalker Ranch. He was a longtime director of operations and facilities, responsible for the design and construction of the emergency response system, fire protection, security, guest lodging, food services and daily operations of the property. He developed and served for over 20 years as the fire chief of the Skywalker Ranch Fire Brigade.
Tom was in the fourth of five generations of extended family in fire service. He grew up with a strong admiration of both his father, Jack Forster, and grandfather, Frank Nelson, whose commitment to their community as volunteer fire fighters was unwavering. Amongst many other positions including police chief, Frank Nelson served Corte Madera as volunteer fire chief for 43 years.
Tom was determined to follow in their footsteps and was a volunteer with Larkspur Fire. Most recently, he was the fire chief for Plumas Eureka Fire Department, a volunteer position, just as his role models had served. His family’s service has totaled over 270 years and counting. Tom served as the secretary/ treasurer of the Plumas County Fire Chiefs Association, he shared his knowledge of firefighting as an active participant in Quincy’s Fire’s Regional Fire Academy and numerous state certified courses throughout the state. Tom also served as chairman of the California State Firefighter’s Association for Volunteer Firefighters.
Tom was a longtime instructor at the California Fire Academy at Monterey Bay and taught for the Santa Rosa Junior College Fire Technology program. He was an active member of the fire community having serviced with Marin Sonoma Fire Training Officers Association and the Larkspur Firefighters Association. Tom served on the board of the North Bay Leadership Council, the Marin County Disaster Council, the Marin Conservation Corps and the Marin Center Renaissance Partnership.
Tom’s passion as an avid fire service historian is exemplified in the work he did on the Marin Fire History project for the Marin County Fire Chiefs Association, which can be found at marinfirehistory.org. A tribute to his dedication to public service and leadership is witnessed in The Tom Forster Leadership Award established in 2015.
Tom loved mentoring others and enjoyed walks with his loving wife, Maureen and their many dogs over the years.