Cover photo for Donald Forsyth's Obituary
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1936 Donald 2021

Donald Forsyth

August 18, 1936 — February 23, 2021

Donald Mac Forsyth, 84, of The Heritage of Green Hills, PA, passed away at home on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

Don was born August 18, 1936 in Howard, Kansas, to Allen and Bessie (McKirahan) Forsyth. He grew up on his father’s farm. After high school in Howard, Don attended Southwestern College in Winfield, KS, graduating in 1958.

In 1961, he married Dianna McEchron, his wife of 59 years. In 1964 a son, Garth, was born. While coaching basketball and teaching Phys Ed at his alma mater of Southwestern College, he was offered a job at brand new Virginia Wesleyan College (now University) as their first Athletic Director. Don and Dianna packed up their young family and made the long trip “back east”, settling in Norfolk, Virginia, where Don began a long and celebrated career as Athletic Director, Golf Coach, and Head Basketball Coach of the Virginia Wesleyan Blue Marlins.

During his career, he was awarded the Virginia Beach Sport Club Director’s Award, and was recognized as National Association of Basketball Coaches South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, and three times as the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

In celebration of his achievements in coaching, Forsyth was inducted into the Virginia Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009, the Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012, and also the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. Today, the Blue Marlins basketball team competes on the Donald M. Forsyth court, homebase when the team that Don started eventually went on to win the NCAA III Final Four Tournament in 2006.

In 2010, Don and Dianna followed their son Garth north to Berks County, Pennsylvania, where they bought a home near Exeter. Don loved spending time with his family, and was always present at his grandchildren’s school sporting events and other extracurricular activities. In his later years, Don’s friendly and familiar smile was a stalwart at Golden Oaks Country Club, where he enjoyed greeting golfers while working as a starter and in the Pro Shop. He could also reliably be found eating breakfast almost daily at the Oley Turnpike Dairy.

Don Forsyth was a man of great congeniality and generosity of spirit. His gracious, friendly presence was known to put most anyone at ease. It can be said that he had “never known a stranger, just a friend he hadn’t met yet”. He is survived by his wife Dianna, his brother Charles, his son Garth and daughter-in-law Eileen Andrews Forsyth, his grandchildren Alexander and Isabella, and his great-granddaughter Ella Rose Manly. He was very much loved and will be greatly missed. Don is preceded in death by his parents, his brother Kenneth, and his sister Paula (ne Henry).

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a celebration of life will be held at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Forsyth, please visit our flower store.

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