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Forrest Garb '51 April 20, 2021 1:48 PM updated: April 20, 2021 2:03 PM

Forrest Allan Garb
DECEMBER 15, 1929 – APRIL 10, 2021

Obituary of Forrest Allan Garb
Born in San Antonio, Texas, to immigrant parents Sada Katherine Pullen Garb and Julius Garb, Forrest spent his early childhood years in Floresville, Luling and Crystal City before eventually graduating early from Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. His lifelong love of music started when he learned to play the saxophone and clarinet as a young boy. He loved his years hiking and camping in the Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout as a young man. Later, he also received scouting’s highest award for Adult Scout Leaders, the Silver Beaver.

Although he was an only child, he had dozens of cousins. This allowed him to live with various relative families during the 1940s while his father, and later both parents, followed work throughout the southern US, Mexico, Panama, and later Venezuela with Socony Mobil. His father was particularly proud that he never missed a day of work during the depression.

Once he was old enough, Forrest spent his summers in Venezuela, where he worked in the oil camp’s machine shop, roughnecked and learned to speak Spanish fluently. He also observed that, of the many varied people he worked with, the engineers drove the nicest cars. This helped spur his continued education. Summers in Venezuela continued throughout high school and college.

Forrest met his lifelong best friend Harold (Hal) Lowes on Christmas day in 1946, while flying model airplanes. Hal was back from WWII and they, along with Forrest’s closest cousins Alvin and Alan Aaronson, attended Texas A&M together. They had lots of fun.

Flying model airplanes with Hal on Christmas day became an annual tradition for 73 years and their friendship lasted 75 years. Most Sundays included playing in the workshop, playing music, working on projects and eventually building guitars. Their love for music culminated with the formation of the indie recording duo, The MellowTonins, with Forrest on clarinet and Hal on guitar. They would joke that if you didn’t like the music, at least it would put you to sleep!

Forrest attended Texas A&M University from 1947-1951, played clarinet in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, was in Air Force ROTC, and received his Bachelor of Science degrees in Petroleum Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. He earned his Professional degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1963.

After graduating in 1951, Forrest took his commission and served in Air Force Intelligence at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, specializing in fluids, fuels and lubricants. His service to his country continued throughout the rest of his career. After his service ended in 1953, he began his career as a petroleum engineer working for Socony Mobil Oil Company for five years in Kansas, Texas, Louisiana and Venezuela.

Upon returning to the U.S. in 1958, he joined H. J. Gruy & Associates, an international petroleum engineering consulting firm. He also met his first wife, Janelda (Jan) Duke, and they married in 1959.

Forrest and Jan built a home and a large workshop in Farmers Branch, Texas, where they raised their son David and daughter Kara, and resided for 30 years. This is when Forrest’s hobbies expanded to include antique car restoration, more radio-controlled airplanes, woodworking, furniture building, clock building, ham radio operating, gardening, sailing, gemstone faceting and wax casting and gunsmithing.

Forrest loved to sail. He joined the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club in Oak Point in the mid-1960s and eventually served as Commodore. He and his family spent many weekends at the cabin enjoying sailing on Lake Lewisville, swimming in the pool and enjoying the break from city life.

With Forrest as captain, his family and friends took many sailing trips to the Abacos, Virgin Islands, and the Bay Islands of Honduras.

Eventually, the antique cars became his primary hobby. He and his family began touring and showing cars all over Texas in the 1970s. His first restoration, a 1931 Model A Deluxe Rumble Seat Coupe named Amy, was a Best in Show winner and led him either to collect or restore another Model A, three Model Ts, a Hupmobile, an MG and two V12 Pierce Arrows.

Mr. Garb spent 63 years as a Professional Consulting Engineer. During his 29 years with the Gruy Companies, he served as VP and EVP before spending the last 15 as President. In his capacity as president, Mr. Garb contracted, performed and supervised over 12,500 projects, ranging from simple evaluations to sophisticated reservoir simulations. He took special pride in being part of the earliest State Department delegation to China, advising President Reagan’s administration on national energy policies and representing US interests against Iran in the World Court in The Hague Netherlands. Mr. Garb was recognized as one of the world’s experts on Fair Market Value Evaluations, wrote two chapters in the Petroleum Engineering Handbook and was a contributing author to World Oil Magazine’s annual forecast for many years.

In 1988, Mr. Garb founded Forrest A. Garb & Associates, Inc., a family-owned petroleum consulting firm, where he served as chairman and chief executive officer until his retirement in 2003 and sale of the company to its key employees. In 2011, an opportunity to resume his decades long loyalty to Israel’s search for domestic oil and gas arose, Mr. Garb joined the board of Zion Oil and Gas, Inc.

Mr. Garb is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and is a past President of the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers. He is a member of the Association of Computing Machinery, the American Arbitration Association, the Petroleum Engineers Club of Dallas, the Dallas Geological Society and is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He is a charter member of The American Institute of Minerals Appraisers. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas. Mr. Garb’s petroleum-related career spans nine decades.

Forrest loved Oak Point. He purchased a home with a lake view and deck in 1988 and, in 1992, built his “Taj Ma’Shop”, where he would spend countless hours for the next 29 years. He served as Mayor pro-tem on the Oak Point City Council and loved the special character of the city.

Forrest met Joyce Stith Payton in 1996, and they married in 2001. Together, they joined the Southern California Model A and Model T Touring Clubs and enjoyed a decade of international touring down country roads in Europe and Australia. In his later years, Forrest and Joyce enjoyed holidays with family and friends, cooking and country living with horses, mini donkeys, goats, cows, squirrels, their beloved cat Chester and dachshund Ollie.

Despite an arduous 15-year physical decline, his unquenchable thirst for knowledge and mastering new challenges remained strong. For example, he took up CNC woodworking at age 89. He lived a life filled with an amazing list of personal and professional accomplishments. Perhaps his greatest achievement was never quitting and doing so with grace while in constant pain for many years.

Forrest is preceded in death by his mother and father, and Joyce’s son Andy Payton.

Forrest is survived by wife Joyce Garb, son David Garb, daughter Kara Grant, Joyce’s daughter Pam Behrens (Bill), Joyce’s son John Payton (Michelle), former wife Jan Blair, grandchildren Hayden Grant, McLain Ford (Tanner), Landry Grant, Will Behrens (Krin), James Payton, Katie Payton, and Marshall Payton, and great-grandchildren Andrew Ford, Tessa Ford, Henry Behrens, and Mark and Matthew Payton. He is also survived by his friend of 75 years, Hal.

Graveside service will at 11:00am, Thursday, 15 April, in the Garden of David at Sparkman Hillcrest, located at 7405 Northwest Highway, Dallas, TX, 75238. The service will be open to friends and family.

If you are uncomfortable or unable to attend, it will be livestreamed on YouTube at

Flowers are not customary at a Jewish funeral. In lieu of flowers, Forrest would love it if you made a contribution to the Salvation Army or your favorite animal charity.


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