Sept. 18, 1936 – July 12, 2018
Carl E. Forrest, a college librarian and a classical music program host on WNED-FM, died July 12 in Father Baker Manor, Orchard Park, after a period of declining health. He was 81.
Born Carl E. Zakrzewski in Buffalo, he attended Catholic elementary schools on the city’s East Side and was valedictorian of the Class of 1954 at Canisius High School.
He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Canisius College, where he also studied philosophy and the classics, and earned a master’s degree in library science from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Returning to Buffalo, he worked in the Canisius College library until 1979, then spent two years at the University at Buffalo. He retired from the Niagara University library in 1987 due to failing eyesight. In his later years, he was legally blind.
Mr. Forrest was a classical music aficionado and amassed a large collection of classical record albums and CDs.
“He was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known,” his brother-in-law, David Meltzer, said. “He had a phenomenal memory and a great knowledge of music.”
An opera buff, his favorite singer was lyric soprano Kiri Te Kanawa. On WNED-FM in the 1980s, he was the regular host of the Saturday afternoon opera broadcasts and filled in for vacationing announcers.
Current WNED-FM music director and evening host Stratton Rawson recalled Mr. Forrest’s deep, cultivated voice.
“Things came at a measured pace,” Rawson said. “Every word was crystalline.”
On weather reports, Rawson noted, “he would always give you the barometric pressure and he would always tell you if it had risen to, or fallen to. He thought that if you got the information he gave, you could make your own decision whether to wear galoshes or not.”
Rawson said Mr. Forrest was unavailable to fill in on evening programs because he needed to be home at night to care for his mother, who was blind.
A longtime resident of the Town of Tonawanda and Cheektowaga, he gave a home to a succession of rescue animals from the SPCA Serving Erie County.
Deeply religious, he was a member of St. Andrew's Catholic Church in the Town of Tonawanda and later a parishioner at St. Martha's Catholic Church in Depew.
He married the former Florence Meltzer, a librarian at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, in 2000. She died in 2016.
Survivors include a friend, Laurie Hastings, and several cousins.
Services were held July 17 in Urban-Amigone Funeral Home, 3645 Genesee St., Cheektowaga.