Harriet Canterberry Forster

Harriet Canterberry Forster, 93, of Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee, died December 8, 2010, at Fairpark Health Center in Maryville. Born at the family residence on Eustis Avenue on June 25, 1917, Harriet Canterberry was one of four daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Redden Harwood Canterberry. The Canterberry girls as they were known - Harriet, older sister, Marjorie, and the younger twins Alice and Anne – were full of life, fun, and grace, all growing up in a Huntsville with less than 10,000 souls and all four graduating from Huntsville High school. Upon graduation in 1936, Miss Canterberry was employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority as a secretary in Guntersville (first having declined a secretarial position at a mortician’s where, she was told, she also might be called upon to do hair arrangement and makeup if business were brisk). Subsequently, a young TVA lawyer visiting the Guntersville office looked up from his work to see Miss Canterberry at her desk across the room: that day Lence Forster wrote home to his mother in Memphis, “I’ve just seen the girl I’m going to marry!” The couple indeed married in 1938, with Mr. Forster’s TVA work in land acquisition taking them throughout the Valley. Their first child, Jane was born in Murray, Kentucky, where Mr. Forster was involved in the development of Kentucky Lake. During World War II, the Forsters moved up and down the East Coast with the Navy before Lt. Forster was posted for destroyer service in the Pacific. With her husband at sea for the remainder of the war, Mrs. Forster and Jane returned to Huntsville to live with her mother. Jane was baptized at the Church of the Nativity in Huntsville as were the Forsters’ subsequent two children, Fred and John. After the War, Mr. Forster returned to TVA rather than enter private practice. With TVA the Forsters moved permanently to Knoxville. There Mrs. Forster, a homemaker, and Mr. Forster, raised Jane, Fred, and John and made many long time and dear friends including Bud and Evelyn Seymour. Mrs. Forster was active in school and church work including longtime and faithful service in St. John’s Episcopal Church Altar Guild. St. John’s was central to Mrs. Forster’s life in Knoxville. This is where all three of their children were married, two grandchildren baptized, and her husband and two sons were buried from there. Upon Mr. Forster’s untimely death in 1965, Mrs. Forster returned at age 47 to work at TVA as a professional “temp” for over 30 additional years. There she was highly regarded by her colleagues for her outstanding work, kind ear, sense of humor, institutional memory, and her independence, which she and others valued. Between interesting temporary assignments, she could travel with family and friends as fancy struck or life’s necessities, crises and surprises required. Her wisdom, kind heart, and dear love will be missed by us all. Survivors include her daughter Jane Forster Wacaster and her husband Dr. C. Thompson Wacaster of Meridian, Mississippi; her sister Anne Canterberry Speake and brother-in-law Dr. Taylor Winston Hamilton of Huntsville, Alabama; and her daughter-in-law Carolyn DeLozier Forster of Maryville, Tennessee. Survivors also include wonderful grandchildren the Reverend David Coats Wacaster, Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Silver Springs, Maryland; John Thompson Wacaster and his wife Christine Chiara Wacaster of Des Plaines, Illinois; Joy Forster Carver and husband William Joseph Carver of Maryville, Tennessee; Rebecca Lynne Forster of Washington, DC; Kathryn Forster Watson, Sarah Flanary Boertje and husband Jason Boertje, and Robert Graham Flanary, all of Knoxville. Special and lovely great-grandchildren include Autumn Cathryn Wacaster of Des Plains, Illinois; Andrew Sevier Carver and Caroline Elizabeth Carver of Maryville, Tennessee; Eleanor Jane Boertje and Raegan Boertje of Knoxville, Tennessee. Mrs. Forster was preceded in death by her husband Melancthon Graham Forster who died in 1965; her sons Major General Frederick Harwood Forster and John Canterberry Forster; sisters Marjorie Canterberry and Alice Canterberry Hamilton; and her brother-in-law Paul Meredith Speake; and her parents Redden Harwood Canterberry and Edna Coats Canterberry of Huntsville, Alabama. A graveside service will be held Tuesday, December 14, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. at the Canterberry plot in Erskine Circle of Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. The Reverend Brad Landry of the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Huntsville will officiate. The family would like to express deep appreciation to the staff of MorningView Village and Fairpark Heath Center for their professional and loving care of Harriet. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, 413 Cumberland Ave., Knoxville, TN 37902, or Church of the Nativity, 208 Eustis Avenue SE, Huntsville, AL 35801, or a charity of your choice. Smith Funeral & Cremation Service, Maryville, 865-983-1000, www.smithmortuary.com.

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