Forest Priestley, 18, of Hope and Rockport, passed away peacefully in his home in the early morning of June 12, 2014.
Forest was a devoted son, brother, student and friend. His quiet and gentle demeanor complemented his big shining smile. A smile he carried with him doing the things he loved best: whether it was charging up a hill on a cross-country race, climbing granite cliffs, sitting at the stern of a sailboat or contemplating the complex undertones of a quirky joke.
Forest's determination was inspirational. He gave everything his best, a relentless high achiever who strove for perfection. He worked hard at school, even throughout his illness and treatments, and remarkably graduated this year from Camden Hills Regional High School. He played saxophone and classical guitar as well as krokinole, a favorite board game, with the ease of an expert.
Forest was at home in the country, in nature. He loved the stillness of the lake, the calls of the birds, gardens, the currents in the ocean and the breezes that blew away the black flies. His weekends, holidays and summers were filled with the outdoors, climbing mountain peaks, sailing the Maine coast, kayaking peacefully, racing down ski slopes and running up hills and across soccer fields. He loved camping, bonfires and s'mores. His life was filled with a richness of sounds, smells and sights.
For such a busy and active life, Forest took his time to contemplate. His took his time to think deeply about ideas and issues, to formulate his thoughts and opinions, to chew and taste his food, to move mindfully throughout life. Behind Forest's quiet and gentle presence was an introspective and inquisitive mind. His travels around New England, Canada, to southern islands, to China and Costa Rica all fueled his curiosity and understanding of the world around him.
Forest loved animals, probably because he took his time to get to know them, care for them and play with them. He shared his calm presence. There are photos of Forest sailing in his Opti with his old dog Bear, Layla his cat lounging on him morning, noon and night, as a toddler watching goats and horses, feeding squirrels and ducks, caring for rabbits. He loved to be behind the camera and showed how he saw the world with amazing insight and wonder.
Forest had a rich life. He was showered by love from his family and friends and beamed it right back to those he touched. He had a deep sense of justice and equality. We all know as he did that his illness was not fair; it made no sense and had no meaning and did not define him. He lived his life with much grace, kindness, gentleness and wisdom. We all know that his spirit, one of care, curiosity and contemplation, lives on in the hearts of the fortunate people he knew. It lives on in the kind actions we take towards one another. It lives on in the places we remember him, by lakes, oceans, mountains, and forests.
Forest is loved, missed, remembered and honored forever by his family, his parents, John Priestley 3rd, and Johanna Stinson; step-mother Lisa Morgan; half-brother Jeremy Lee; step-brother Adrian Morgan; half-sister Vivian Priestley; grandmothers Leah DePrizio and Anna Stinson; grandfather David Stinson; aunts Anne Priestley, Jane Edmundson, Julie Stinson, and Laura Stinson; uncles, Tom Evans, Michael Stinson, Trevor Stinson, and Frederick Stinson, and many cousins.
Forest’s spirit joins his late grandfather John Priestley Jr. and his late uncle Joel Priestley.
He will also be remembered by his friends and fellow students, teachers from People Place, Children’s House Montessori School, Rockport Elementary School and Camden Hills Regional High School, his tutor Mary Smyth and caregivers Dr. Robert Stein, the Children’s Cancer Clinic in Scarborough, the staff at Kno-Wal-Lin, and missed by his cat Layla and fish Freddy.
Please join Forest’s family in honoring him during a memorial at the Rockport Opera House in Rockport, Friday, June 20, at 2 p.m. followed by an outdoor reception at 3:30 p.m. with food, live music, and sharing at his home in Hope on 13 Laughing Water Lane.