Born Charles Gerald Forsberg in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on 18th June 1912, Gerry Forsberg died today, 24th October 2000, in his adopted homeland, England, at age 88.
Gerry made his mark on Marathon Swimming through his numerous swimming, writing, and leadership activities in the United Kingdom. A long-serving term as the President of the Channel Swimming Association and a World Record England-France swim in 1957 are just two of the many highlights of his career.
Commander Charles Gerald Forsberg, OBE, RN (Retired) has "retired" for the last time. As he says on page 190 of his book on Modern Long Distance Swimming, and praising Abilio Couto and Florence Chadwick: "retired" is an honourable decision - "giving up, gave up, and failed" are not proper reflections of a sound decision based upon the prevailing conditions. Actually, Gerry never used the word "retired" in this section of his book. He used the words "dropped, withdrew, halted, suspended, discontinued, terminated" as acceptable phrases; however, I also see "retired" as an active decision of common sense. He retired from work when there was nothing more meaningful to be achieved, he retired at Torbay within sight of the finish when Kendall Mellor was the only swimmer to finish, and today he made the ultimate retirement.
As in the emotionally moving, nationalist song Flower of Scotland:
When will we see your like again?.
It's a sad day... I loved that man - I have a signed photograph of him on the wall of my office here - hands in pockets with his head bowed in typical Gerry humility. It's shown above and on the right-hand side of his web page which details his many accomplishments.
I've been struggling with a poem/song for the past year, and I think the chorus is all that matters now:
Sail away Gerry, way into the blue.
Sail away Gerry, we're thinking of you,
Setting a course, with a line that's so true.
Sail away Gerry, we're thinking of you.
He may never swim again on Earth, but his soul will be a part of every swim I ever complete and every word I ever write on swimming.
It's a tearful night, but I've got enough Scotch to toast my way through it.
His birthplace of Canada, his home in Britain, and his friends of the World will mourn his passing.
|Gerry Forsberg - A Pioneering Leader who was born in Canada and went on to be honoured by Britain and the USA as one of the most outstanding swimmers and promoters of marathon and long-distance swimming in the 20th century.|
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Created: 24th October 2000
Last Updated: 19th March 2003