Robert E Forbus (1945 - 2000)
Longtime resident Robert Edward "Butch" Forbess II died Sunday, July 16, from cardiopulmonary complications. He was 54.
Mr. Forbess was born July 26, 1945, in Detroit, Mich., to Robert Edward and Wanda Lee Forbess.
Shortly after, he moved with his family to the Newport-Mesa area, where he was raised. He graduated from Costa Mesa High School in 1963 and followed his father into the carpentry and construction trades.
It was in his youth that Mr. Forbess, who was known as "Butch," acquired his lifelong love of open roads and spaces from his maternal grandfather, Burl Chase, who ran a fruit and vegetable stand at the corner of Bristol Street and Newport Boulevard. He and his grandfather often went on long hauls to Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona and the San Joaquin Valley to buy produce for sale. Through the years, "Butch" provided much support for his family and friends.
Mr. Forbess, who will long be remembered for his handlebar-mustachioed smile, could always be counted on to lend a helping hand, an empty bed or a needed tool. And he seemed to have them all. Family members say he had a "heart as big as Costa Mesa and a smile as wide as Harbor Boulevard," and anyone who knew him loved him.
A longtime member of the original Zubie's Gang, "Butch" did much of the work for multiple restaurants and many of the regulars were counted among his close friends. As a carpenter, he could frame a house or build a spiral oak staircase, remodel a kitchen or construct an ornate fireplace mantel. Basically, he could do it all and did it well.
He also enjoyed working on and driving his bright orange 1924 Ford Phaeton T-bucket hot rod. He liked dove hunting, Vegas trips and going to the Colorado River with family and friends.
His illness was discovered after he sought treatment at Hoag Hospital for rib pain and shortness of breath. He was hospitalized June 29 with cardiopulmonary problems. Two days later, he suffered a cardiac arrest and although he was resuscitated, he slipped into a coma for 15 days before he passed away.
He is survived by his father, Robert Edward Forbess of Costa Mesa; sisters Bonnie Langseth and her husband, Richard, and Brenda Chandler and her husband, Donald, all of Costa Mesa, and Sheila Forbess of Mission Viejo; five nieces and nephews, Ms. Tami McCalla of Las Vegas, Tonya Collier of Orange, Ronald Nugent of Costa Mesa, Jeffrey Nugent of Irvine and John Nugent of Myrtle Beach; 11 grand nieces and nephews and numerous friends.
Pierce Brothers Bell-Broadway Funeral Home of Costa Mesa handled the cremation ceremony. The family requests that donations in his memory be made to Children's Hospital of Orange County.
Published in the Daily Pilot on July 21, 2000