Obituary of James Curtis DeForest
DeFOREST, JAMES C. (“Jim”) went peacefully to sleep in Jesus on October 20, 2019 in Tampa, Florida, surrounded by loving family. He is survived by his wife, Plessie; children Stepheny DeForest, Debbie (Phil King) Easey, and Steve DeForest; Mark (Cathy) Kaufman, Andrew (Danielle Sadler) Kaufman; sisters, Marilyn Salyer, Marjorie Parker; and brother Bob (Ruth) DeForest; 12 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, and loving friends.
Jim was born August 5, 1935 in Battle Creek, Michigan to Glenn Earl and Pearl May DeForest, and lived in Battle Creek for many years. He married Claudia Slack in 1955, who pre-deceased him in 2000. He was also predeceased by one grandchild, and his brother Arthur DeForest.
In 2001, Jim married Plessie Kaufman in Tampa, Florida, enriching each of their lives with several new family members. They also had the pleasure of welcoming a new grandchild in 2003.
In 2005, in kidney failure, Jim was facing dialysis or was in need of a kidney transplant. Dr.Charles Sanders, an outstanding nephrologist with LifeLink, discussed the advantage of finding a living donor. We were out of our depth with this concept or any possibility that this could be done. But as it turned out, Plessie was a match. On January 6, 2006 this life-giving surgery was performed. The surgery was successful, and nothing short of a miracle, enabling Jim to enjoy many additional years of life. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Sanders who provided life saving care to Jim for nineteen years. Due to this surgery, Jim was able to live to see many of his great-grandchildren, to know them and be a part
of their lives.
Jim enjoyed spending time with family most of all, and dearly loved all of the babies that were born over the years. He was an avid camper, and took the family camping to various campgrounds in Northern Michigan (always on a lake), and he always made the most beautiful campfires. When grandchildren started coming along, he enjoyed passing on his love of camping and knowledge of the outdoors to them. After the kids were grown up, he and Claudia criss-crossed the U.S. in their RV, making many trips between Michigan, Florida and California. Later, he and Plessie took many trips in their travel trailer and were active members of the Florida Outdoor Club.
He was a self-employed interior decorator, hanging countless rolls of wallpaper and spreading hundreds of gallons of paint. Jim loved music and had a high tenor voice for most of his life, singing in choirs, quartets, and many solos. In the 1970's he sang several hymns which were recorded on cassette tape (which have since been preserved on 2 CD's), accompanied by the organist at the Battle Creek Tabernacle. After retiring from the Florida Strawberry Festival, where he was “the voice” on the loudspeaker and worked in the administrative office, he donated much of his time to church maintenance and the Community Services Center at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. He was a kind, gentle, loving man, his sense of humor was legendary, and he was genuinely liked by everyone who met him. He often said he never met a person he didn't like.
There will always be something more we could have said, but we invite anyone who wishes to share a favorite memory of Jim in the “condolences” section. He will live on in our hearts and memories for the rest of our lives, with love.
“There are three important things that will last forever: Faith, Hope, Love. But the greatest of these is Love.” I Corinthians 13:13 (The Clear Word)
There will be a Memorial Service held on November 23, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. at Tampa First Seventh Day Adventist Church located at 822 W. Linebaugh Avenue in Tampa, Florida 33612. In leui of flowers, please consider making a dontaion to your favorite charity in Jim's memory.
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