Bill, these bowties are for you!

June 21, 2014

The sartorial splendor of a multitude of bow ties on the platform at the 221st General Assembly would surely have brought a twinkle to Bill Forbes’ eyes.

For almost 35 years, beginning in 1974, Forbes served as General Assembly platform manager. He was never garbed without his omnipresent bow tie. With his silver-turning-to-white hair, he cut quite a figure at countless General Assemblies.

A native of New Jersey, Forbes worked on the national staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) following his graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary, as well as in pastorates in Georgia, Texas and New Jersey. In 2002 he joined the staff of the PC(USA)’s Board of Pensions.

In 2007 Forbes was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  In a musing for the General Assembly News in 2008, his last General Assembly, Forbes wrote: “None of us knows how many days we will be granted. As you look into the mirror each and every day, take time to marvel that you have been made in the image of God. Count your blessings often. Share yourself abundantly with those who need encouragement, hope and care. Keep that twinkle in your eye and help the world learn to laugh. May God continue to bless you and keep you as you claim the gift of life each day!”

Forbes died on June 30, 2009, at the age of 62.

And so, at each of the last three Assemblies, those on the platform have worn bow ties for the Friday business sessions as a tribute to one of the all time greats: Bill Forbes.

  1. He was the best. No-one has ever taught me so much about loving those who travel with us in all areas of our lives. To this day, when frustration takes hold, I do so much better when I stop and think: "How would Bill handle this." His light is reflected in his wonderful family. What a good man.

    by Nadene Crain

    June 23, 2014

  2. WE had the privilege of knowing Bill as our pastor in Houston. We loved him so very much!! He stretched us to be our very best and I appreciate that as I think about him now. He was gracious but a fighter after being diagnosed with that awful cancer! Love and isa him!

    by MARY GWEN HULSEY

    June 23, 2014

  3. Thank you for remembering my very sweet father with a lovely tribute that would absolutely make him smile!

    by Kristy Forbes Vits

    June 21, 2014

  4. I did not know Bill very well, but I truly enjoyed every moment we spent together.

    by Rich Hinkle

    June 21, 2014

  5. Bill Forbes' brother, Bob Forbes, a commissioner from the Peace River Presbytery and a member of Assembly Committee #12, is in attendance at the 221st General Assembly. I'm sure he appreciated the gesture of the platform team.

    by James Tse

    June 21, 2014

  6. Bill's brother, Bob Forbes, a commissioner from Peace River Presbytery and a member of Assembly Committee #12, is present at the 221st General Assembly. I'm sure he appreciates the gesture of the platform team in remembering his brother.

    by James Tse

    June 21, 2014

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