Roderick A. Forsgren
1930 ∼ 2014
NANTUCKET, MA - Roderick Alfred Forsgren, age 83, died from complications related to Parkinson's disease on January 6, 2014 at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Rod was born in Brainerd, Minnesota — the only child of Maybelle Myhres and Erick Alfred Forsgren, an immigrant from Orebro, Sweden.
Rod was raised in nearby Crosby, a small town in the heart of the Cuyuna iron range north of Minneapolis. After an idyllic childhood of swimming, fishing and unloading 100 pound cement bags from railcars for a penny a sack, he met the love of his life — Donna Rae Goehring — in St. Cloud, Minnesota on a summer's eve where they were both judges at a children's talent show. Rod and Donna married in 1957 and shared nearly 60 years together, moving to Old Town, Maine in 1965, raising four children and crisscrossing the U.S., Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand in a camper upon Rod's retirement from the University of Maine. He led an active life — playing basketball, running, skiing, canoeing and bicycling to work — and had a passion for dancing with Donna on the Rio Grande Valley dance circuit during winters in Texas. Rod was an Army veteran and received a B.A. from the University of Minnesota, an M.B.A. from the University of Denver and a doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder before working 30 years as a Professor of Management in the College of Business Administration at the University of Maine, ultimately serving as MBA Director and Acting Dean of the Graduate School. An early adapter of technology and advocate for integrating personal computers into the curriculum, he was always ready with a screwdriver to add RAM and change internal setup switches. One professional highlight was working with architects on the design and specifications for the Donald P. Corbett Business Building on campus including the beautiful, open atrium, as well as orchestrating the burial of a time capsule beneath the lobby to be opened in 2093.
His infectious enthusiasm and creative, persistent approaches to problem-solving — combined with Yankee thrift — carried over to his avocations: Rod was an accomplished carpenter, mechanic, builder, plumber and mariner. He grew to love the Maine coast, hauling lobster traps during the summer months on his boat, the "Donna R" (and later the "No Frills" which he built from the hull up) much to the amusement of Frenchboro, Maine fishermen. Rod was a Democrat and lived a life true to his core beliefs of honesty, hard work, integrity and equity — instilling those and many other values in his children. Writer of many letters-to-the-editor, he also famously authored a few dozen Forsgren Christmas newsletters sharing a humorously unvarnished and loving glimpse into the lives of his family — until his children started reading them. For Rod, actions spoke louder than words and his delightful sense of humor, wry insights and presence as a husband, father, grandfather and friend will be missed by all.
Rod is survived by his beloved wife, Donna, of Nantucket, Mass.; daughter Diedre and partner Glen Williams of Richmond, Va.; daughter Alison and partner Willy LeMay and her son Jerico Mele of Nantucket; son Kurt and wife Patricia Mallett and their children Axel, Lars and Beck of Wellesley, Mass.; and son Tor and partner Lynn Thammavongsa and their sons Andrew and Ayden of Lakeville, Minn. A memorial service is planned for summer 2014 near Crosby, Minn. — for further details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Community Foundation for Nantucket, Friends of Our Island Home Fund, P.O. Box 204, Nantucket, MA 02554 and at www.cfnan.org.