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Lawrence Joe Forrester obituary

Lawrence Joe Forrester was born January 4, 1943, in Bloomfield, Iowa, to Floyd Perry and Edna Mae Garrison Forrester. He died June 13, 2022, of natural causes at his home south of Columbia, Missouri. 

Joe grew up on the family farm between Memphis and Arbela, in Scotland County, Missouri. His father died of polio when Joe was eight. Growing up, he was active in 4-H and excelled in science and math and building intricate model airplanes. Joe was a big help on the farm and also worked on farms of neighbors and relatives. 

Joe attended the University of Missouri, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and PhD and spent his career as an instructor, researcher and eventually, as associate director of the MU DNA Core facility (now Genomics Technology Core). His areas of expertise included enzymes and brown recluse spider venom and anti-venom. For a number of years, he was a regular visiting professor for medical students in Guadalajara, Mexico. His time in college was punctuated with a stint in the Army, during which he was stationed at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. 

When an undergraduate, Joe married Martha L. Edgar. They had one son, Mark Allan. They divorced after a few years but remained friends until Marty’s death in 1998. After moving to Columbia, he was unofficially “adopted” as an extra son of the Case Family, with whom he owned land and shared many projects and holidays.

Joe was a talented woodworker and built his home in the woods south of Columbia. He was also an avid kayaker and kayaking instructor, whose river adventures included trips to the Grand Canyon, to Scotland, Costa Rica and Alaska. He was a fan of Bob Dylan and Irish music, and a staunch Democrat,  who always stayed informed on the latest in politics, science and technology. He was a generous father, grandfather, brother and uncle. He enjoyed gatherings with family and friends, and he was a skilled helper with many projects.  

Joe is survived by: Son, Mark (Beth) Forrester, of Kansas City, Missouri; Grandsons Philip P. (Leslie) Forrester and great-grandchildren Evelyn L. and Julia Charlotte, of Springfield, Missouri, and Joey (Olivia) Forrester and great-grandchildren William P., Belle M. and Evan P. of Kansas City; Step-grandson Thomas Mendoza and Family; Sisters Julia Sue Guio (John), Dekalb, Illinois, and Ann Y. Robinson, Des Moines, Iowa; and Brother Matthew Scott Robinson (Teresa), of Colorado Springs, Colorado; along with many nephews, nieces and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, and his stepfather Douglas Robinson. 

An informal celebration of life will be held for Joe on Saturday, July 2, beginning at 2:00 p.m., at the Scotland County Community Fitness Center, 541 Grand Avenue (U. S. Hwy 136 E), Memphis, Missouri. Friends and family are invited to bring stories and pictures to share. 

Cards can be sent to Mark Forrester, 5043 N. Woodland Ave., Kansas City, MO, 64118. Memorials can be made in Joe’s name to Special Olympics, Save the Children or the local senior meal delivery program Aging Best.