Local Obits

Obituary of D. James Forshee


Douglas James “Jim” Forshee, a dedicated educator whose passion for teaching transformed the lives of countless students, passed away peacefully on February 15th at the age of 76. Jim’s remarkable journey in education spanned an impressive 53 years, leaving an indelible mark on generations of learners.


Born to Marion Adams and Ronald Erickson and lovingly raised by his parents, Ruth and Watson Forshee, Jim’s love for teaching blossomed early in his life. He pursued this passion with unwavering dedication, starting his career as a high school teacher in 1970, where he devoted 38 years to shaping the minds of young adults at Cortland Jr/Sr. High. His innovative spirit led him to become a pioneer in teaching television production in a high school setting, establishing the Cortland Video Club, a platform that changed the lives of hundreds if not, thousands of students; earning Cortland City Schools Teacher of the Year honors twice, Rotary Club Teacher of the Year and two awards for his sports production work with the Empire State Games. Jim’s areas of expertise included graphic arts, photography and audio and video applications, and he worked in the sports broadcasting field for networks that included ESPN and MSG. For generations, he announced the arrival of spring with his floral pants. Beyond the classroom, Jim’s impact extended to the athletic field, where he coached football, track and field and girl’s basketball. He instilled in his students the values of teamwork, discipline, perseverance.

After his illustrious tenure in high school education, Jim continued his journey at SUNY Cortland, enriching the minds of aspiring sports communication/management students for another 15 years, teaching to his final days. He was well-known across the greater Cortland community for his dedication to sports broadcasting through outlets like the Red Dragon Sports Network, and he made a lasting impression on countless SUNY Cortland students interested in media. His reputation extended across many departments on campus: Sport Management, Communication and Media Studies and Athletics among them. In 2015, he was awarded SUNY Cortland’s Student Affairs Faculty Connection Award, an honor that recognizes a faculty member who builds meaningful student connections outside of the classroom.

Jim’s legacy is not only evident in the countless lives he touched as an educator but also in the pride he took in the achievements of his former students. He cherished their successes as if they were his own, a testament to the profound impact he had on their lives.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Jim was a devoted family man. He was predeceased by his first love, Carol Ann (Maher) Forshee, his parents Ruth and Watson Forshee, his father Ron Erickson, Kate Erickson and his brother Paul. He is survived by his wife Brenda, and a loving father to his daughters Michelle (Stefan) Opalenick of Jamesville and Patricia (Michael) Ferris of Fayetteville, Danielle (Dan) Swenton of Liverpool and Stephanie (Ben) Owens of Groton. He found immense joy in the presence of his grandchildren Caroline, Madeline, Owen, Sophia, Connor, Olivia, Keegan, and Molly who brought light and laughter into his life. He is also survived by his siblings Mickey Share, Diane Marlette, Carl (Alicia) Erickson, David (Patti) Erickson, and Mary (Derek) Seitz and many nieces and nephews. Jim’s compassion extended to all living creatures, including his furry companion Annie.

In honoring Jim’s memory and his compassionate spirit, donations can be made to the Cortland SPCA, continuing his annual Christmas tradition of paying adoption fees for those seeking to give shelter animals a loving home for free.

Calling hours will be held Thursday 2-6 pm at the Wright-Beard funeral Home Inc., 9 Lincoln Ave., Cortland NY, 13045. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday 10:30 am at St. Mary’s Church, Cortland NY with burial to follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery. The family encourages those who visit during visiting hours to wear Cortland High School or Cortland College shirts or colors representing his love for both institutions.

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