Rev. Joseph H. Forbes, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, was in the third generation of a family with five generations of ordained clergy serving in the A.M.E. Church. Born on September 24, 1930, he was the second of five children born to Rev. Ahnin H. and Mrs. Rachel Forbes, Sr. He confessed his life to Christ at an early age and joined Baker Chapel A.M.E. Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
Elder Forbes, as he was known, served diligently in active ministry for 49 years, first as a pastor and then as a Presiding Elder. He served as pastor of Ross Chapel, Jamestown, Ohio; Allen Chapel (College Hill), Cincinnati, Ohio; St. John, St. Louis, Missouri; St. John, Omaha, Nebraska; Allen Chapel (Quindaro) Kansas. Elder Forbes also served as presiding elder of the Kansas City North District, Northwest Missouri Conference of the 5th Episcopal District. Even after his retirement he continued in his service to the church. He was supported in ministry by his wife, the late Mrs. Lola M. Hines Forbes. She, too, was active in the AME Church and was a Life Member of the Women’s Missionary Society.
He was a graduate of Paul Quinn College, Dallas, Texas (formerly in Waco, Texas) and of Payne Theological Seminary, Wilberforce, Ohio, earning a Bachelor of Science and Master of Divinity Degree, respectively. He received a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of Central America. He continued his studies with graduate work in counseling and psychology at Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington and the University of California at Berkeley. Elder Forbes was a patriot. He served his country in two branches of the armed services. He served in the United States Army and Army Reserves from 1952 to 1962. From 1962 until 1967 he was a Chaplain in the United States Air Force, obtaining the rank of Captain.
An educator, Elder Forbes taught in the public schools systems of Cincinnati, Ohio and Kansas City, Missouri. And while a Chaplain in the Air Force he served as the Director of the Base Religious Education Program, managing and training a staff of over 75 volunteers with approximately 900 students in the Sunday School. He was also the Training Administrator for the University of California at Berkeley, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (currently known as Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory). Throughout the years, Elder Forbes was often called upon to serve as workshop and seminar facilitator for religious, public and private organization. He developed his own unique style combining didactic and experiential method in conducting these workshops and seminars which made them effective and enjoyable. His belief in prayer, the Holy Scriptures, the Atoning Work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit form the foundation of this work.
Elder Forbes was a champion for the improvement of the quality of life, change and development for all people. His passion for these social issues is evident in the various board on which he served and the organization of which he was a part. These included, board membership in the NAACP of both Riverside and Vallejo, California; Riverside Chapter of the Sickle Cell Anemia Association, the Riverside, California; Zoning and Planning Board, and the Pacific Institute of Church Organizations (PICO). Elder Forbes also served as an agent of change. Serving as the president of his own firm, Forbes and Smith Associates, he specialized in problem solving, conflict resolution, and team building for non-profit and government organizations. Additionally, he was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Elder Forbes was proceeded in death by his beloved wife, Mrs. Lola M. Hines Forbes; his parents; two brothers, Rev. Ahnin H. Forbes, Jr. and Mr. Fred Earl Forbes; three nephews, Elder Willis L. Williams (Wynona); Mr. Ahnin H. Forbes, III and Dwight Bernard Forbes (Michelle).
He leaves to mourn his children, Raphael L Forbes and Rachelle M. Forbes, from his union with Mrs. Marie Maude Johnson-Forbes of Vallejo, California; two step-sons, Keith Hines (Debra) and Andre Hines of Kansas City, Kansas; one step-daughter; Cynthia Delease Hines and one step-grand son, Sean Cassidy both of Kansas City, Kansas; a sister, Mrs. Naomi Forbes Williams of Marlin, Texas; four nieces, Rev. Brenda Williams Waters of Dallas, Texas; Mrs. Yolanda Forbes Jones of Ft. Worth, Texas; and Mrs. April Forbes Chretien (Carl) of Houston, Texas; a devoted care-giver and step-niece, Mrs. Deborah Polidore (James); and a host of other family and friends from across the country and throughout the Connectional AME Church.