Bert Forman, pioneering Belizean, dead at 78
Friday, 03 November 2006
By Angel Novelo - Staff Reporter
Bert Jay Forman, one of Belize’s pioneers in the fishing industry, passed away on Saturday last October 28, at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. He was 78.
A number of family members and friends, including veteran fishermen, gathered for funeral services at the St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday to pay their last respect.
Bert, as he was affectionately known, died around 5:45 Saturday morning, some 39 years after he was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 39.
He was born on the island of San Pedro Ambergris Caye on July 18, 1928 to George Dagna Forman and Helen Miriam Menzies Forman.
He started his fishing career from youth. His family moved to Belize City after his father passed away when he was a mere boy at nine.
After just six months as a fulltime fisherman, his vision of a thriving industry led him to join the Northern Fishermen Co-operative. He was registered as the co-op’s 54th member.
As time passed by, he became an influential force within the industry and encouraged many of his fishing buddies to join the cooperative.
He also took advantage of opportunities by acquiring more boats and lobster traps.
One of his most famous boats was the Cry Baby, which he cherished and used to take his family and friends on boating trips.
Before his illness with Multiple Sclerosis, which left him disabled for the rest of his life, Forman acquired his own island off English Caye and named it Forman’s Caye.
His illness did not deter him from his love of the sea and his passion to go fishing.
He continued his frequent trips out to sea, despite doctors had given him only 15 years to live.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Teresita Small-Forman 54 years ago and the union has produced nine children.
They are Orlando (deceased), Bruce, Gary, Bert, Victor, Geraldine, Norman, Deborah and Julian. Their adopted daughter, is Sharlene.