Forrest was born on April 30th, 1929 to Elizabeth Broaddus and William Leff in Lead, South Dakota. He attended the Lead Catholic Grade School K-8 in 1944 and graduated from Lead High School in 1948.
As a young man, Forrest worked at the Homestake Mining Company in his hometown of
Lead, South Dakota in many departments including underground mining, foundry, hoist room, and blacksmith shop.
Forrest joined the National Guard in Lead in 1949. He spent nine months in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on active duty. He then left for Heidelberg, Germany in 1950 where he was stationed at an occupation troop for 1 year.
After his Army tour of duty, Forrest graduated from Black Hills Collage in 1955 with a BS degree in music. He then taught school in Glacier, Montana, Custer, South Dakota, and Lingle, Wyoming. He met his future wife, Joan Morsch, in Lingle.
After their marriage in Lead, South Dakota, Forrest and Joan moved to Casper in 1959 where both were employed at School District Number 2.
Forrest’s love was music. He started clarinet lessons in 5th grade. He fondly remembers the first song he learned being, “The Marines Hymm”, because he liked the tune. He later played in the Lead High School band and also sang in the choirs. In the summer, he played with the Homestake Mining Company band at rodeos and the annual Days of 76 parade in
Deadwood, South Dakota. While in college at Black Hills University, he taught music at the Lead High School. He concluded his teaching career at Paradise Valley Elementary School in Casper, Wyoming.
Forrest played with the Casper City Band for 50 years. He also sang at Saint Anthony’s choir for 30 years and later was active at Fatima Catholic Choir.
Forrest was a member of the National Guard honor team and played “Taps” at funerals. He was particularly proud of his participation in Veterans Day activities with the music group “The Golden Oldies” and playing “Taps” at the Veterans cemetery.
Forrest was a past commander of American Legion as well as lifetime member of the VFW & the Elks Club.
Forrest is preceded in death by his wife, Joan, his parents, brothers Lee Leff of Lead, South Dakota, Dale Leff of Detroit, Michigan, and sister Bonny Potratz of Lead, South Dakota. He is survived by his sister Margie Lee of Lead, South Dakota, sons Francis of Casper, Daniel of Elko, Nevada, and Forrest Jr of Casper and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank Life Care of Casper as well as Central Wyoming Hospice for their care during Forrest’s last days. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Casper Humane Society or Central Wyoming Hospice.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 8th at 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Casper, Wyoming.