Forrest Fredrick Beery, 97, died unexpectedly at his Rocky Fork Lake home on November 18, 2018.
Forrest was born to Fred and Leafee Beery in Lancaster, Ohio on November 16, 1921. The family moved to Hillsboro in 1925 to open a chicken hatchery, which remained open until 1958. Forrest worked in both the Hatchery and on the family farm in Hoagland as a child. He frequently attended movies at Bell’s Theater, both silent films and “talkies”. He loved hunting, and was a very good shot. When he was twelve, he dug his own swimming pool with only a mule, a pan, and a shovel.
Forrest was a 1938 graduate of Hillsboro High School. He attended Dennison University for one year where he won the freshman debate competition. He then attended the University of Colorado in Boulder where he graduated in1941 with degrees in political science and economics.
On July 22, 1942, he joined the US Army 163rd MP Prisoner of War Processing Company. Highlights of his stateside service include learning Japanese in an accelerated program, winning the battalion wrestling championship, and winning the battalion Drill and Ceremony competition. He served as a Japanese interpreter in New Guinea and the Philippines, and saw action in three battles. He was responsible for successfully negotiating with “The Tiger of Malaya/The Beast of Bataan”, Imperial Japanese Army General Tomoyuki Yamaschita, the commander of Japanese forces in Malaya, Singapore, and the occupation of the Philippines, to get the captured Japanese soldiers to build their own prison. He carried out this negotiation while locked in a bamboo prison surrounded by machete wielding enemy soldiers. Despite fighting against them, Forrest was left with a lifelong respect for the Japanese people. He was discharged on February 1, 1946.
After the war, Forrest attended The University of Cincinnati College of Law. He earned his degree in 1950, then returned to Hillsboro to begin his law practice. He continued this practice until retiring in 2017, a 67 year career.
Forrest also took part in local government. He served as Village Solicitor and oversaw the incorporation of Hillsboro as a city. He wrote the first City Ordinances and organized the Municipal Court for Highland County. He also was the first Municipal Court Judge. He served as Mayor of Hillsboro, was a Hillsboro City Councilman, and was active in recruiting industry to come to Highland County, including Weastec, Hobart, and Rotary Forms.
Forrest embraced the idea of Physical Culture. He was an avid runner from 1977 until his death, earned a Black Belt in karate, enjoyed tennis, helping to start the Hillsboro High School tennis team in the 1930’s, table tennis, and had the highest score in bowling in Hillsboro in 1967 (a 267 score). Boating on Rocky Fork Lake was a special pleasure.
He was preceded in death by his wife Jeanne Beery, son Jon Beery, and sisters Marian and Thelma. He is survived by seven children: Julie (Bob) Smith, Janet Beery, Jim Beery, Fred (Michele) Beery, Joan (Doug) Gehner, Jeff (Tara) Beery, and Leafee (Steve Wilkin) Beery. He also leaves 13 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary Catholic Church in Hillsboro on Saturday, November 24 at 11 A.M. and will also be broadcast live on St. Mary’s radio station WLRU 106.9 FM. Burial will follow in Hillsboro Cemetery with a military honor guard.
Rhoads-Edgington Funeral Home, Hillsboro is serving the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary Catholic School at 119 E. Walnut St, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.