Forrest Ogden Jr. Obituary

Forrest was born in Texarkana, TX into a family with deep roots in Mena, AR. He enjoyed many happy days visiting the Ogden family on Bethesda Road as his family moved from Texarkana to McAlester, and on to Nashville, TN.


As a young boy he enjoyed riding trains with his father, who was employed by Kansas City Southern. This started a life long passion for trains. He also was fascinated by airplanes. His first flight was when he jumped off the garage roof in a homemade airplane made from cardboard boxes. Aviation became his career.


After graduating from Central High School in Nashville, TN in 1948, he joined the Civil Air Patrol and then the Army Air Corp. While on leave visiting family in Mena in 1953, he was introduced to Shirley Struve by his Uncle and Aunt, Orville and Margaret Ogden. He received his commission, wings and wife in 1954. In 1966 he received the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and received various campaign and service awards. In 1966 he was commended for a 1965 mission in which he and his crew rescued 7 fighters under extraordinary circumstances. In 1968, he retired from the US Air Force with the rank of Major and moved to the place he always wanted to live, Mena AR. He worked at KENA, First National Bank, and was a flying instructor. He taught many local pilots to fly.


After their four children graduated high school, his aviation skills took him to Oklahoma City where he worked for Gulfstream Aerospace as a production test pilot. In1983 he participated in a flight around the world in a Gulfstream Turbo-Commander in slightly less than 76 hours. This set a world record for that class of airplane.


After his second retirement, he and Shirley enjoyed living in Mena, Arkansas and spending their summers in Ruidoso, NM. He enjoyed working with his uncles Orville and Paul Roy on their farm along the Mountain Fork River.


He was a lifelong Methodist and was a 55+ year member of the First United Methodist Church in Mena.


He enjoyed the time he spent with the Ouachita Amateur Radio Club, the Ruidoso New Mexico Amateur Radio Clubs, the Masons and the VFW. He maintained his membership in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Red River Valley Association (aka River Rats-a Vietnam fighter pilot organization) and the Order of Daedalians Society. He served on the Mena School board during the infamous Punch Bowl controversy.


He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Shirley Kay Ogden, his parents Cheatham Ogden, Sr., and Annice Ogden, and his sister Ann Cochran. He is survived by his 4 children: Steve Ogden of Gunnison Colorado, Fred and Delilah Ogden of Mena AR and Rockwell, TX, Ginger and Aubrey Sterner of Yocanna, AR, and Janet and Jerry Gorden of Broken Arrow, OK. There are 5 grandchildren (Charmian Ogden, Stephen Ogden, Mandy Gorden Green, Benjamin Gorden, and Matthew Bingham, and 8 great-grandchildren.


The family wishes to acknowledge his caregivers: Alice Anderton, Bonnie Stiltz, Melissa Owens, Sandy Endicott, Charity Mabry, Dr David Henderson, and the wonderful staff of the Homewood Cottages.


A private burial will be held and a memorial service, will be announced at a later date.


In lieu of flowers, if you feel inclined, please make a donation to the first United Methodist Church in memory of Forrest.


3-16-23 1:59 PM KAWX.ORG