James Danial "J.D." Forsythe

Friday, November 7, 2014

James Danial "J.D." Forsythe, age 91, of Cupertino, California, formerly of Manila, died Tuesday at his home in California. Born in Manila, March 28, 1923, to the late Floyd Lee and Allie Mae McCain Forsythe, he spent his early years in the Manila and Leachville areas. He attended several country schools in the area including Shady Grove School, New Harmony School and Brown Spur School all near Manila, the Boynton School, north of Leachville, and then graduating from Leachville High School in 1942.

Following high school, like so many young men of the era, he didn't wait for the draft call, he volunteered to serve in the United States Army. At age 18, he left Blytheville by bus for Camp Joseph T. Robinson Induction Center in North Little Rock. Assigned to the 97th Infantry Division, he would report to Camp Atterbury, Indiana for training, then on to San Luis Obispo, California for amphibious training. When his training was completed, Forsythe was transferred to the 106th Division and was soon on his way to the European Theatre. His unit crossed the Atlantic on the RMS Aquitania, landing at Glasgow, Scotland then on to Lomerswieller, Belgium where he was assigned as a runner in Company A, 1st Regiment and 424th Battalion of the 106th Infantry Division.

In the early evening of December 16, 1944 his unit was scattered sparsely in a holding action, and armed with only 40 rounds of ammunition per soldier when German tanks followed by infantry filled the nearby village. Most of his squad was killed in the first few minutes of the battle. Five survivors, including Forsythe, hid in a root cellar. They were soon discovered and captured by the German SS Troops. The prisoners were eventually taken to a train station and loaded in boxcars. Most of the prisoners came down with severe dysentery and many did not survive the trip to Stalag 12-A at Limburg, Germany. In less than a year, he went from a healthy 178 pounds to a 105 pound man in very poor health. When liberated he had not had a change of clothes, a tooth brush, or bath in 5 months and seven days. He was among the liberated prisoners taken to Reims, France and after many weeks in the hospital he eventually made his way home to Leachville. His parents had not received news of his release. They had initially received word that he was missing in action and later that he was a prisoner of war. His many commendations and medals include 3 Bronze Stars, European African Middle East Campaign with Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharp Shooter Medal, Sniper Medal, Missing Prisoner of War Medal, and the Purple Heart.

Following his discharge, Forsythe relocated to California and made a successful life. He received a degree in mechanical engineering and spearheaded challenging tasks including starting a company known as Applied Pyrotection, which was a fire protection and safety engineering firm.

He had over 8,000 documented designs and installations, including projects on atomic energy, sawmills, lumber camps, power stations and other industrial giants located within Silicon Valley.

Not only a scholar, he was an accomplished ballroom dancer, gourmet cook, played classical mandolin, and had won many awards for hydroponics gardening.

He leaves one son, Thomas James Forsythe; and

One daughter, Deanna Forsythe;

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Howard Funeral Service Chapel in Manila. Burial with Military Honors will follow in Manila Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. The family prefers memorials to http://paloalto.va.gov/giving/

A guest register is available at www.HowardFuneralService.com.