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Robert Durkin Forger



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Robert Durkin Forger died on January 24, 2023. He is survived by his son, Gary, and his wife, Felicia, of Newton, Mass.; his granddaughter, Lauren Carreiro, and her husband, Jay, of Norfolk, Mass.; as well as his daughter-in-law, Patricia Forger, of Bethel, Conn. He was predeceased by his wife, Eleanor Forger, and their son, Jeffrey Forger.

Bob was born on May 24, 1928, in Norwalk, Conn. He was the son of Alois and Elsie Forger and attended Westport, Conn., schools. He attended Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., graduating with a chemistry degree in 1949.

He married Eleanor in May 1951, remaining in Westport. From college graduation until 1959, Bob worked for Dorr-Oliver in Stamford, Conn. He was initially a research and development engineer and then manager of technical publicity.

In 1959, he moved to the Society of Plastics Engineers. He started there as conference manager and became executive director in 1971. During his 21 years as executive director, Bob doubled the size of SPE.

Along the way, Bob served in leadership positions on the Plastics Education Foundation and the National Plastics Museum. He was also an advisor to UMass Lowell’s plastics engineering curriculum advisory committee, resulting in the creation of the first-in-the-nation degree in plastics engineering. The Plastics Hall of Fame enshrined him in 1996.

While he believed in the future of plastics long before Dustin Hoffman heard the words in The Graduate, Bob also believed in the United States military and Norwich. He served in the United States Army Reserve for 25 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. In 1970, Bob graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College.

Norwich was never far from his heart. Over the years, Bob served on the university’s alumni association, culminating in being named president. He also served as a trustee of Norwich from 1987 to 1992. Seven years later, the university named him a distinguished alumnus.

In his spare time, Bob also was chairman of the Westport Public Housing Authority. Other affiliations included the American Society of Association Executives, the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives, and the Plastics Pioneers Association.

He and his family moved from Westport to Wilton, Conn., in 1964. At both homes, his week was not complete unless he worked in the yard for at least a day. A short 42 years later, Bob and Eleanor moved to Newtown, Conn. Eleanor died in 2022 after 71 years of marriage to Bob.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, February 2, 2023, at 10 am in St Joseph Church, Obtuse Hill Road, Brookfield, CT. Interment will follow in Resurrection Cemetery, Newtown.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in Bob’s name to Norwich University.

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