T.D. Forrester, a man known for his acclaimed work as a trial lawyer, love of family and sense of humor, died Sunday after a lengthy illness.
He was 69.
In 1975 Forrester applied for a job with well-known Covington lawyer Houston Gordon. The two hit it off immediately, Forrester moved from Waverly, Tenn. to Covington and the two worked together for the next 18 years.
“We went to lunch, I liked him and we liked each other. I started him off at the outstanding salary of $500 a month,” Gordon said with a laugh. “He went right to work and he’s been a great friend and a great lawyer ever since.”
Their office was located at 312 South Main St. in Covington and the duo handled a wide variety of cases.
Forrester eventually opened his own practice in the Lindo Hotel on the Covington square and carved out an impressive career. He received numerous honors, including being named a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, which Gordon called “probably the premier trial lawyer group in the country.”
In addition to running his own practice, he served as Atoka’s city attorney for more than 30 years and then as Covington’s attorney from 2005 to 2016.
“He was very respected personally and professionally,” said Covington Mayor Justin Hanson. “He had such a wonderful family. He cared for them immensely.”
Forrester leaves behind his wife, Kathy Fortner Forrester, and three children: Taylor Forrester, Leah Keiser and Monnie Ruffin. Taylor and Leah followed in their father’s footsteps and became lawyers.
“His passion was family and his children,” Gordon said. “If you talked to him for more than a few minutes you would hear about his children and his grandchildren in later years. Every day we would have a conversation about his children, his wife and his family and how proud he was of them. He was dedicated to them beyond about anybody I’ve ever known. Just really loved his family and, of course, they loved him.”
Forrester was also known for making people relax with his dry wit.
“One of his nicknames was Punch line,” Gordon said. “He would say something that would break the tension in the middle of the conversation and he would make people laugh. He was one of the most kind human beings I’ve ever known.”
Funeral services for Forrester will be held Thursday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Covington with interment to follow at Covington Memorial Gardens.