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Hartselle Enquirer

Forest Allen Risberg


Forrest Allen Risberg Sr, 84, died early Tues. morning, Jan. 10, 2017, at South Haven Nursing Home in Hoover, after a long battle with Lewy Body Dementia.

Mr. Risberg was born in Orrin, North Dakota, the 11th of 16 children of Hjalmer and Edith Risberg. His father worked for the railroad and his mother trained as a teacher. He grew up in small towns along the Rock Island Railroad line in Illinois. He graduated from Depue High School in 1950. Shortly after graduation, Mr. Risberg became a telegrapher for the Rock Island Railroad.

Mr. Risberg married Gila Evelyn Meyer of Ladd, Ill., in 1952. They had 10 children, all of whom survive him. After working for several years as a salesman of furniture, vacuum cleaners and music books, Mr. Risberg started college in Eureka, Ill. After one year, the family moved to Jacksonville, Ill., where he attended MacMurray College, graduating in 1962. While in college in Jacksonville, he served four rural United Methodist churches, where he would conduct services each Sunday, speeding from one to the next after a 45 minute service. Upon graduating from college, Mr. Risberg moved his family to LaFayette, Ill., where he served a Methodist church. At the same time he served this church, he began seminary at Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. At this time, Mr. Risberg had seven children. He would take the train to Chicago every Sunday night and return Friday night.

In 1971, he and his family moved to Hartselle to serve a Methodist church. He continued to serve United Methodist churches in Huntsville, Decatur and Carbon Hill until his retirement from the ministry in 1984.

Following retirement, Mr. Risberg sold life insurance, computers and worked for the organization that administers Birmingham’s Head Start program. He had an integral role in the implementation of the program at Highlands United Methodist Church that currently serves Birmingham’s homeless community. Mr. Risberg enjoyed working with cars, cheering for the Chicago Cubs and reading. Most of all, he loved spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife, Gila, of Maylene; 10 children, Rick Risberg of Bloomington, Ill; Jeff Risberg (Stephanie) of Baltimore, Md; Sandi Massingill (Rick) of Hoover, Lori Shaneyfelt (Gary) of Hartselle, Donna Johnson (Eddie) of Huntsville, Barb Janchus (Steve) of Alabaster, Paul Risberg (Carrie) of Denver, Co., Grace Hooper (William) of Ecru, Miss., Forrest Risberg Jr. (Stephanie) of Decatur and Joel Risberg of Denver, Co.; 21 grandchildren; eight great- grandchildren; brothers, Doug, Duane and LeRoy; and a sister, Darlene Westphal.

No services are planned. Mr. Risberg donated his body to the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical School for research.


In honor of our father, the family requests that donations please be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA.org) or to the homeless ministry at Highlands United Methodist Church, Five Points, Birmingham, AL.