Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Skip navigation

FAU Benefactor Harold Forkas Dies at 90

Post

FAU Benefactor Harold Forkas Dies at 90

FAU Press Release:

Harold Forkas, a retired business executive whose generosity to Florida Atlantic University led to construction of a long-awaited alumni center on the Boca Raton campus, died on Monday, April 20, at age 90. He had been in poor health for eight months and passed away while under hospice care at Boca Raton Community Hospital. FAU flags on all campuses will be lowered in his memory on Thursday, April 23, the day of his funeral service.

"Florida Atlantic University has lost a true friend," said FAU President Frank T. Brogan. "In becoming the lead donors for our alumni center, Harold and his wife, Marleen, gave the university a gift of incalculable value that will forever link them to FAU. The FAU community joins Marleen in mourning the passing of this great philanthropist and wonderful human being."

A native of Woodridge in New York's Catskill Mountains, Mr. Forkas began his career in 1935 in Manhattan, working in the office supply business. He subsequently joined the sales staff of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company and soon advanced to a management position. After becoming a successful entrepreneur through the acquisition and operation of eight Midas Muffler franchises, Mr. Forkas and his wife, Marleen, retired to Boca Raton in 1988.

Their involvement with FAU included supporting the university's football team by joining the Inner Circle of Football Founders, and they regularly cheered for the Owls at both home and away games.

Their $1.1 million donation to the university, made in 2005, funded construction of the Marleen and Harold Forkas Alumni Center, a 14,000-square-foot facility on the Boca Raton campus that has become a "home away from home" for the more than 100,000 men and women who have received degrees from FAU over the course of the university's 45-year history. Last year FAU formally recognized the couple's enormous contributions to the life of the university by conferring the President's Distinguished Service Medallion upon them.

They have also been significant benefactors of the B'nai Torah Congregation and major supporters of the Boca Ballet, Boca Raton Community Hospital, the American Heart Association and numerous other well-known charities in Boca Raton.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Forkas is survived by a sister, Lillian Kaplan of Clermont, Florida; a brother, Joseph Forrest of Boynton Beach, Florida; two daughters, Tangee Williams of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Janice Gilbert (Sel) of Aventura, Florida; four grandchildren, Randi Zimmerman (Mitchell) of Jericho, New York, Tammy Rubin Knipe (James) of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Gina Young (Michael) of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and Jennifer Gilbert of Aventura, Florida; and four great-grandchildren, Jamie and Jake Zimmerman and Alexis and Amanda Rubin.

Services will be held on Thursday, April 23, at 10 a.m. at B'nai Torah Congregation, 6261 SW 18 St., Boca Raton, FL 33433. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marleen and Harold Forkas Alumni Center, FAU Foundation, Inc., 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431; the Boca Raton Community Hospital Foundation, 745 Meadows Road, Boca Raton, FL 33486; and to B'nai Torah Congregation.

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
Back to the top

Post

Re: FAU Benefactor Harold Forkas Dies at 90

That is sad news but at 90, he lived a long full life.
God bless.

FAU - THE REAL SLEEPING GIANT
Back to the top

Post

Re: FAU Benefactor Harold Forkas Dies at 90

I was saddened to hear about this early this afternoon. My thoughts and prayers are with the Forkas family.

I'm a proud lifetime member of the FAU National Alumni Association. Are you a member? Join now at www.faualumni.org.
Tradition in the Making, One Alum at a Time…
Back to the top

Post

Re: FAU Benefactor Harold Forkas Dies at 90

Many Thanks for all that he did while here away from his true home.

God Speed.
Back to the top

Post

Re: FAU Benefactor Harold Forkas Dies at 90

I was lucky enough to hear his speech at the Alumni Center ribbon cutting and I firmly believe that we all could learn something from a man like Harold. For a man that had absolutely no connection to FAU, other than that he's a Boca resident, to decide to support the school because he knew we needed the help, is pretty impressive. He basically said, I've got the money, you guys need the help, and you're good people, I'll give it to you. All he wanted from it in return was to know that he touched some individuals…and he did.

I only wish more residents of this town cared as much about the success of our school as the Forkas' do.

If you ever swing by the Alumni Center, remember, you've got them to thank for getting the thing off the ground.
Back to the top