Cecil L. Forinash

Published 10:34 am Monday, August 4, 2014

Cecil L. Forinash (Colonel, U.S. Army Retired), 96, of Knoxville, Tenn., died July 25, 2014, after a brief illness.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Mary May Forinash. He is fondly remembered by his children, David L. (Jean) Forinash of Elizabethton, Tenn., and Patti (Walter) Trent of Colorado Springs, Colo.; his grandchildren, Mariebeth (Keith) Ayotte, Geri (Matt) Mahaley, Tim (Heather) Forinash, Jason Forinash, Derek (Sean Mayo) Trent, Kelli Trent and Laura (Zac Grey) Trent; and six great-grandchildren.
Cecil was born December 9, 1917, in West Chester, Iowa, to John C. and Mary Forinash. He entered the University of Iowa in 1935, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve in 1939. He entered active duty as part of Third Infantry Regiment on July 5, 1939. In 1940, he was assigned to the Philippine Islands and, in 1941, became an aerial observer with the Air Corps. Upon Japan’s invasion of the Philippines, he requested and was assigned to Second Battalion, 31st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. He was wounded in the fighting, but elected to stay in the Philippine Islands. After months of fighting in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor, he was captured by the Japanese Army April 9, 1942, and endured days on what is now known as the “Bataan Death March.” After months in prison camp in the Philippines, he was transferred on a hell ship to Japan where he remained a prisoner of war at various camps until his release on September 8, 1945.
Upon his return to the United States and subsequent hospitalization, he was sent to Miami Beach for recuperation and met the love of his life and future wife, Mary May, who was in charge of the Red Cross Operation serving former Japanese prisoners of war. They married in Powell, Tenn., on June 22, 1946. Deciding to attend the University of Tennessee College of Law, he graduated in 1949. After law school, he re-entered the Army as a Judge Advocate General Corps officer, where he served across the United States, Korea and Europe until his retirement November 1, 1969.
He and his family returned to Knoxville in 1969 where he briefly entered into the private practice of law. He became a prosecutor in the Knoxville City Court and later retired as an assistant attorney general in Knox County in 1983. After retirement, he and his wife continued to follow University of Tennessee football and basketball as well as travelling across the country, to the Far East and Europe. He served as caretaker for his wife for ten years after she developed cancer until her death in 2006. The family joined Church Street United Methodist Church in 1969, and remained a member of the church and the Murphy Builders Sunday School Class until his death. The family would like to express a special thanks to Rev. Ray Amos, First United Methodist Church of Elizabethton. The family wishes to thank Kim Hutchinson, who cared for Mary and Cecil for many years, and to Sally Williams, who helped him over the past two years. The family also thanks Velma Bradford for her companionship in recent years. A special thank you to the staff of the VA Mountain Home CLC who made his last days as comfortable as possible.
Interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, and friends may call at their convenience at Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Church Street United Methodist Church, 900 Henley St., Knoxville, TN 37902. Online condolences may be extended at www.rosemortuary.com.
Arrangements by Rose Mortuary Mann Heritage Chapel.