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Columbia Missourian

Natalee Adelia Forward loved church, family, travel

By Peter Kampschroeder
January 30, 2013 | 8:37 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Natalee Forward loved to keep records.

"Her sisters would write letters every week, and she would store all those letters," her daughter Alicia Walker said. "She did a lot of work to forward our genealogy, both for the Thurmonds and the Forwards."


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In the days before the Internet, Natalee would pore over microfilm reels to track down her family's history.

Mrs. Forward died Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. She was 82.

Mrs. Forward was born to Margaret and William Thurmond on June 23, 1930 in Millwood, Mo., the youngest of three sisters. She moved to Columbia after graduating high school, where she worked in MU's Poultry Department. There she met her future husband, James F. Forward, whom she married on July 25, 1951.

Mrs. Forward was a homemaker and devout Catholic, raising all of her eight children in the Catholic faith. She was an active member of Sacred Heart Church, where her visitation and funeral mass will be held Friday.

Although she could not drive, Mrs. Forward loved traveling. She had her husband drive her children to every state park in Missouri, and she continued to visit her children regularly even after they moved across the country — some as far away as California.

Mrs. Forward was an avid gardener, and grew plants in addition to her work in the church choir and family genealogy research.

"She was a busy woman,” Alicia Walker said.

She is survived by her eight children; Ellen Forward, Alicia and her husband, Doug Walker, Carol and her husband, Bob Gladden, James William Forward, David and his wife, Pat Forward, Daniel and his wife, Ann Forward, Linda Forward, Laura and her husband, Charles Long and 13 grandchildren.

Mrs. Forward is preceded in death by her husband, James F. Forward. 

A visitation will be held at Sacred Heart Church on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a funeral Mass to follow. Internment will be in Memorial Park Cemetary, 1217 Business Loop W.

Memorial contributions can be made to Preferred Hospice of Missouri Central, 1900 N. Providence Rd., Suite 311 Columbia, MO 65202. Online tributes may be left at