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Rev. Ross Forcey

September 15, 2017

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The Reverend Ross Forcey, age 92, was peacefully called home to his Lord and Savior on September 15, 2017 at Buckingham’s Choice, Adamstown, Maryland surrounded by his loving family.

Ross, the only child of Ana and Bernard Forcey, was born on October 16, 1924 in Carlisle, PA.  He attended Gettysburg College and graduated cum laude in 1945.  He completed his studies for the ministry at the Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary and was ordained in May, 1947.

On December 24, 1946, Ross married his beloved wife of 67 years, Lena (Lee) Hartzell, daughter of Howard Jeremiah and Edna Zinkand Hartzell of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Following his ordination, Ross accepted the call to serve as the minister at St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Baltimore, Maryland from 1948 to 1950.  In January 1951, Ross accepted a call to Wheaton, Maryland as a mission developer. The small congregation met in Pleasant View Elementary School until the main sanctuary was built in 1955. Resurrection Lutheran Church was dedicated on February 19, 1956. A new educational unit was built in 1959 to accommodate the growing needs of the more than 250 children and adults.    

A few years after Resurrection was firmly established, Ross was called upon by one of his parishioners to assist with the development of a new Lutheran church in Damascus, Maryland. In September 1957, he conducted the first church service in the living room of one of the families of the small, dedicated group who agreed to meet for services on Sunday afternoons. With the encouragement and support of the congregation of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Ross conducted services every Sunday afternoon for two years. The vision of the small congregation in Damascus was realized when the Maryland Synod officially accepted the church in 1959 and The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer was established.

Ross remained as pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church for 38 years until his retirement in April 1989. At that time, Ross and Lee moved to Germantown, Maryland where they lived until 2014. Although retired, Ross continued to be actively involved in churches including Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, both in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He officiated at numerous weddings and funeral services, and answered calls to supply preach whenever and wherever he could be of service. 

Ross was a German and Latin scholar as well as an avid history buff. But music was a life-long passion for both Ross and Lee.  He was a talented pianist and often accompanied Lee, an accomplished flutist.  They first met through their mutual love of music. The ensuing years of performing at church programs and concerts, family gatherings, weddings, memorials, and special events created a music ministry that lasted a lifetime. 

Ross was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Lee, and his daughter, Marylou Jones.  In 2014, Ross moved to Buckingham’s Choice, Adamstown, Maryland.  He is survived by his three daughters and their spouses:  Susan and Richard Porritt of Whidbey Island, WA, Ann and Kenneth Hall of Cherry Hill, NJ, and Penny and Robert German of Adamstown, MD; son-in-law Paul Jones of Germantown, MD, spouse of Marylou.  He is also survived by his grandchildren:  Michelle Fleharty, Kristin Wilson, Courtney Hall, Kyle Hall, Casey Hall, Dane German, and Megan German, and by great grandchildren Taryn Fleharty, McKenna Fleharty, Isabella Wilson, Liam Wilson, and Braydon McDowell.   

A memorial service for Ross will be held at St. James Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, PA on November 4, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in memory of The Reverend Ross Forcey to Hospice of Frederick, 516 Trail Avenue, P.O. Box 1700, Frederick, MD 21702 or online at http://www.hospiceoffrederick.org/donate; or Gettysburg Seminary, 61Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg, PA  17325 or online at www.uls.edu/giving.  

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