Freeman "Mike" H. Forrest

Friday, December 14th, 1923 - Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
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Freeman H. “Mike” Forrest, 95, of Atlantic, Iowa, died Tuesday, July 23, 2019, at Heritage House in Atlantic.

Mike Forrest was born December 14, 1923 in Mankato, Minnesota, where he resided with his parents until 1930, when the family moved to Des Moines, Iowa. He graduated from Des Moines public school in 1941, and commenced college that fall at Iowa State University, which was interrupted by enlistment in the Marine Corps officer training program in April, 1942.

Following three and a half years of WWII military service he returned to college, graduating from Notre Dame University in February, 1948. After a year of travel he completed a year of Master’s training at the University of Iowa. While serving as a clerk in a Des Moines law firm, he enrolled in Drake University Law School. While at Drake, he met and married his wife, Lela Genevieve (Gen) Johnson of Gowrie, IA. They have four children; Scott (Tomie) of Dallas, TX, John (Mandy) of Eastsound, WA, Anne (Rick) Pellett of Atlantic, IA, and Robert of Ottumwa, IA. They also have five grandchildren (Kate Olson, Bethany Clark, Dennis Forrest Takeda, Lucas Forrest and Galen Forrest) and five great grandchildren.

He entered the general practice of law in 1953. In 1956 he became an Iowa Assistant Attorney General through 1959. He then returned to private practice and formed the firm of Beving, Swanson and Forrest PC in 1964 in Des Moines, from which he retired in 1988. His principal practice areas were Utility and Agricultural law.

Following his retirement from Beving, Swanson and Forrest, he spent a year in Washington, DC adjudicating military claims. He and Gen returned to Iowa in 1989, where he was appointed by Governor Branstad as the first Iowa drug policy coordinator, and later retired to Ames, IA, in 1993.

In other public service, Mike served six years on the Polk County Plan and Zoning Commission, four years on the North Polk Community school board, two years as the Chair of the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee, and was instrumental in formation of both the Iowa Substance Abuse Consortium at the University of Iowa, and the Iowa Research Council in Des Moines.

His organizational memberships were principally in county, state and national bar associations. Recognitions have included an award as an “Honorary Judge” by the Iowa Judges Association, The Army Distinguished Service Medal and designation by the Iowa Pork Producer’s Association as an “Honorary Master Pork Producer.”

Mike’s military career continued after returning to civilian life. From 1946 to 1960, Mike served in the Iowa National Guard, first in the 34th Infantry Division and in many positions. When he completed his Guard service as Chief of Staff in the Iowa National Guard Emergency Operations Headquarters, he transferred to the Army Reserve. In the Reserve he held assignments as Commandant 5040th US Army Reserve School, Commander 205th Infantry Brigade and Commander 88th United States Army Reserve Command. Mike was appointed Principal Member for Fifth United States Army to the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee from 1978 to 1981. Major General Forrest retired from military service in 1983.

Mike has donated his body to science. There will be a memorial open house for family and friends at a future date.

Condolences may be left at or sent to the funeral home.
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There will be a memorial open house for family and friends at a future date.


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Posted at 11:46am
Sorry to hear of Mikes passing. Keep me posted as to your future event. Col. LaVerne Anderson Email
F Posted at 11:48am or 515 229 1212

Martha Swanson

Posted at 01:23pm
Mike was a partner with my father, Don Swanson, who both shared a common sense approach on how to live life, how to respect others (even if of different options), and how to laugh. I remember Mike stopping by our cabin on Lake Vermilion, either on his way or returning from Camp Ripley in MN. Mike was always a lot of fun.
Mike was a man of great integrity and honesty. He believed everyone was entitled to their day in court and the size of their bank account would/should not affect the quality of legal services rendered. A true gentleman of unequaled character!

Jean Schroeder

Posted at 07:36am
My deepest sympathy to the family of General Forrest. I was a member of the 103rd Spt Bde and worked as a civilian for the generals following him in that position of Commanding General of that unit. I got to know and respect him from those positions as well as the many Winter Parties he attended. He will be greatly missed by his military friends.

ET & Lucille Taylor

Posted at 08:50am
I’m glad that we got to know Mike and you. We extend our sympathy to you at this time of Mike’s death. We read the obituary in the Des Moines Register. He lived a fruitful life. You shared many years together. We can almost hear you singing songs of love and farewell to Mike. It is good that you were nearer family in these past few years. Blessings to you. ET & Lucille

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