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Jimmy Forester, 43, passed away Saturday, Nov. 25, 2006, in Monterrey, Mexico.
Memorial service: 10 a.m. Saturday at Christ Church Assembly of God, 5301 Altamesa Blvd., Fort Worth. Burial: Mount Olivet Cemetery. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Mount Olivet Funeral Home.
Jimmy was born April 5, 1963, in Fort Worth. He worked as a systems analyst, but his passions were for the outdoors and his family. Jimmy was an avid outdoor enthusiast and activist for rock climbing. His love for the outdoors was only exceeded by his love for his family and friends, and in his 43 years he touched the lives of countless people. Jimmy was a devoted daddy to his daughter, Rylie Faith, and in her heart and of those he touched, he will be fondly remembered.
Jimmy was preceded in death by his father, Jimmy Lee Forester, and brother, Joel Dworkin.
Survivors: Daughter, Rylie Faith Forester of Dallas; parents, David and Doris Dworkin of Fort Worth; sisters, Jill Dworkin, Dedrea Forester Franklin and Derinda Forester Nickel, all of Fort Worth; sister by marriage, Mary Dworkin of Burleson; grandmother, Leota Lasater of Fort Worth; stepmother, Barbara Forester, also of Fort Worth; and countless family and friends.
Published in the Star-Telegram on 12/1/2006.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The rock climbing community lost a legendary climber and environmental advocate on November 24 when Jimmy Ray Forester fell while climbing in El Potrero Chico in northern Mexico. Forester, an experienced, talented and well-known climber, failed to return to camp after a climb on El Potrero Chico’s “The scariest ride in the park”, a 55-pitch 5.9 ridge route. When he didn’t return after the early-morning climb, an attempt was made to view his progress with binoculars, and when unsuccessful, a search was initiated. He was found the next day at the base of the wall.
“Jimmy was an intelligient and super strong climber,” said Ryan Ray, a Forester climbing partner. “He never put himself, or anyone else, in danger. This climb was well within his capabilities, so we can only speculate what might have happened. It could have been rockfall or a handhold that gave way.”
Forester became an iconic figure throughout Oklahoma and Texas during his 17 years in the sport. He established his own characteristically ground-up, onsight style and was endued with a deep sense of climbing history and tradition that energized other climbers. According to his friends, he was also a consummate climbing teacher and mentor.
“Jimmy was the kind of guy who cared more about the climbing community than he did himself,” said Ray. “He climbed and established new routes so that others would have quality places to climb. Every time he placed a new bolt, he would always think about the next climber who would have to use it.”
When he wasn’t climbing, Forester was dedicated to protecting climbing resources and was an environmental activist. He served on the Board of Directors of the Wichita Mountains Climbing Coalition and the Central Texas Climbing Committee and was a strong supporter for the Access Fund, the only national advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment.
“Jimmy worked to preserve the historic ethics of climbing as well as protecting the climbing resources in the North Texas and Oklahoma,” said Ray. “He wanted to make sure that future generations of climbers had the same resources that we have today.”
On his numerous climbs, Forester compiled hundreds of pages of route and historic data for a series of guide/history books that he planned to publish for the climbing community. “He spent countless hours developing guide book information and had one of the most complete and comprehensive collections of information on Texas and Oklahoma climbing that has probably ever been written,” says Ray.
Forester leaves behind one daughter, Riley, age 4. To learn about memorial fund that has been set up in her name go to FriendsofForester.com. “Jimmy was the kind of dad who wanted to see his daughter have a great life,” says Ray. “He worked hard for her, and always gave her the best that he could. Setting up the fund was one way his many friends could support him.”
A memorial website with updated information has been created at www.friendsofforester.com
To make a donation benefiting his daughter Rylie please visit any Chase Bank branch and deposit to “Friends of Forester”!
Donations can also be mailed to:
For questions, contact the account officer, David Ploof @ Chase Bank Dallas branch, 972-407-3415.
Rock and Ice Magazine Website Article
Monday 27th November, 2006
The Texas and Oklahoma activist Jimmy Ray Forester died on November 24 when he fell while free soloing in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. Forester, of Dallas, Texas, was attempting The Scariest Ride in the Park, a 40-pitch 5.9 ridge route, but failed to return to camp that evening. He was found the next day at the base of the wall, apparently having fallen from one of the route’s initial, loose pitches. Although El Potrero is known worldwide for its quality, bolted limestone sport routes, at least five climbers have perished there in less than a decade, including the brilliant all-arounder Jose Luis Pereyra, who was struck by rockfall in 2003.
Forester, a strong, talented and seasoned climber with 17 years experience under his belt was an iconic figure throughout Oklahoma and Texas, where he repeated the classic runout trad routes and establishing a slew of his own in characteristically ground-up, onsight style, which he loved. Endued with a deep sense of climbing history, Forester sought to preserve the traditional ways, believing that the ethic was the bedrock of climbing and that without it the sport was nothing more than base exercise. Forester, however, was not a crusty had-been. He excelled in all disciplines, from bouldering to aid climbing, and strove to win allies through education rather than browbeating: When he wasn’t climbing he was busy compiling hundreds of pages of route and historical data for a series of guide/history books that he had hoped to someday publish as a free resource for all climbers. His friends, of whom there were legions, will recall that his anecdotal tales, attention to detail and stickler for the facts made him one of climbing’s most astute, if unsung, chroniclers.
Although Forester cut his teeth on the rugged granite outcrops of the Wichita and Quartz mountains in southwestern Oklahoma, and road tripped often, racking up nine ascents of El Cap, he recently homed in on the granite domes of Enchanted Rock in central Texas. There, he cranked some 80 routes this past season, including repeats of virtually every runout trad line. Of note, he repeated Real Gravy, an old-school 5.11c with just three bolts and such serious ground-fall potential that locals had in recent years retroed-in three more bolts. On his ascent, Forester made a point of not clipping the added bolts, which he felt disrespected the first ascent and reduced the climb to a gym route. To help preserve “E-Rock’s” traditional ethic, Forester ran for and received a seat on that area’s bolting committee.
Recently, in July, he and another homeboy, Marcus Garcia, climbed five routes in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in three days then drove to the Fisher Towers and ticked off the Titan and Echo Tower. When contacted by this magazine for details about his climbs to include in the news section, the reticent Forester replied, “Naw … you guys can find better news than us.”
A memorial service for Forester will be held at Exposure Indoor Climbing Gym, near Dallas, on December 3. Proceeds will benefit his daughter, Riley, age 4.
A Richardson man who was active in keeping rock climbing routes open in North Texas and Oklahoma died Saturday while climbing near Monterrey, Mexico.
James Ray "Jimmy" Forester, 43, of Richardson had gone for a solo climb in El Potrero Chico Canyon in northern Mexico.
When no one could find him after an early-morning climb, a search began about noon Saturday. His body was found several hours later.
"It appears he fell about 100 meters and died from head injuries," said Marcus Garcia, a climbing guide in Durango, Colo., and one of Forester's closest friends.
Garcia was on the phone Monday, making arrangements to fly to Mexico to claim Forester's body.
Funeral services are tentatively scheduled at Mount Olivet Funeral Home in Fort Worth. Garcia said he isn't sure how long it will take to get Forester's body returned to Texas.
El Potrero Chico is about a 10-hour drive from the Metroplex and is a popular climbing site for Texans.
On this trip, Forester had traveled alone.
El Potrero Chico climbing area has relatively easy routes and extremely difficult ones, said Keller resident Ryan Ray, who was Forester's main climbing partner. Ray said Forester was on a climb well within his capabilities.
"Jimmy was a super strong climber," Ray said. "He never did stupid stuff. He knew better than to do something intentionally to put himself into danger. We think maybe there was a rockfall, or a handhold gave way, but that's purely speculation."
Forester's death hit the climbing community hard because of his work in keeping sites open in the Wichita Mountains in southern Oklahoma and at sites across Texas.
Forester was part of the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition, which worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep climbing sites open at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
"The loss of Jimmy is probably one of the biggest losses to the North Texas and Oklahoma climbing communities has ever had," Ray said. "He had a love for climbing and was an activist for the climbing community. He will truly be missed by a lot of people."
Ryan said Forester was always upbeat.
"He was always uplifting, never negative," Ray said. "If I was down and being negative, he would turn my spirits up. He was the kind of guy you could talk about climbing or talk about my own relationships. ... He was truly one of the greatest friends I've ever had."
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698 email@example.com
James 'Jimmy Ray' Forester: Climber died doing what he loved
A Richardson systems analyst and rock-climbing activist has died while on a trip in Mexico.
James "Jimmy Ray" Forester, 43, is believed to have fallen early Friday morning during a climbing expedition in El Potrero Chico Canyon near Monterrey.
Services are pending but will be at Mount Olivet Funeral Home in Fort Worth. A memorial service at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma also is planned.
"I've never seen anyone so dedicated to climbing and climbing activism," said friend and fellow climber Ryan Ray of Keller. "The loss of Jimmy is devastating to our climbing community."
Mr. Forester, 43, was born in Fort Worth and lived in the Dallas area for about 20 years. He recently moved to Richardson where he was employed by Verizon Communications Inc.
The graduate of DeSoto High School took up rock climbing about 18 years ago with his half-brother Joel Dworkin, who died of brain cancer several years ago.
Mr. Forester continued to climb and became active in trying to preserve climbing sites in Texas and Oklahoma. He held board positions on the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition and the Central Texas Climbing Committee.
"It was his passion," said his mother, Doris Dworkin of Fort Worth. "Whatever Jimmy undertook, he was passionate about."
She said her son loved nature and had a special fondness for snakes. He often came home from his rock climbing trips with photographs of the wildlife he encountered along the trail, she said.
"The other love of his life was being a daddy," she said. Mr. Forester was divorced and leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter, Rylie Faith Forester, who lives in the Dallas area.
Mr. Ray said his friend always had a positive outlook.
"He was one of the most outgoing, high-spirited individuals I've ever met," he said. "His love for life always lifted your spirits."
When climbing was threatened at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Okla., Mr. Forester worked countless hours with the coalition to convince officials that climbers weren't harming the environment, Mr. Ray said.
"The climbing coalition kept the park open," he said. "Jimmy wanted to protect these natural resources."
At the time of his death, Mr. Forester was writing a series of digital guidebooks about climbing routes in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. He wanted to put them on a Web site for climbers.
"He wasn't in it for the profit but the love of climbing. Everything he did was to benefit climbers," said Mr. Ray, who has created a Web site in his friend's memory at www.friendsof forester.com.