Edson Forker

Photo of Edson Forker
FORKER Dr. Edson Lee Forker, 92, of Columbia, peacefully passed away with his family surrounding him at UMC Hospital in Columbia, Missouri on Monday, May 22, 2023. Lee was born on August 28, 1930, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Edson W. and Mary Rush Forker. Lee graduated from Kent School in Connecticut in 1953. He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. While attending Haverford, Lee met Alice Richardson and they were married on August 20, 1955, in Madison, New Jersey. Lee was attending University of Pittsburgh Medical School at the time and completed his medical degree in 1957. Lee and Alice relocated to Denver, Colorado so that Lee could complete his medical internship at Presbyterian Hospital. After internship, Lee enlisted in the US Navy and was assigned to the Sea Bees MCB10 as a Lieutenant JG and served as the battalion physician while stationed in both Adak, Alaska, and Guam. Lee completed his three-year residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa in 1963. In 1967, Lee earned a Markel Scholarship which fueled his interest in liver research, Hepatology. Lee practiced and taught medicine as well as did medical research at Iowa for 20 years. He was a widely published expert and international lecturer in the field of Hepatology during his career. In 1979, Lee accepted a position at the University of Missouri Columbia school of medicine as Director of Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. He was later promoted to Associate Dean for Research at the University. Lee retired in 1992, to devote himself to one of his other life passions, trees. On his 100-acre farm in Millersburg, Mo., Lee, Alice, and family planted over 10,000 trees. Lee enjoyed designing, engineering, and building all kinds of projects. He designed three homes for his family, one in Iowa and two in Missouri. In his later years, Lee continued tree farming, talking politics, driving slowly through Columbia and Millersburg, spending time with family and his beloved dogs. Lee was known for his jokes, his limericks, promoting the FairTax, battling the IRS and discussing mathematical equations. Lee is survived by his loving wife Alice of nearly 68 years; sons James Forker (Rachel) in Fulton, Mo., and John Forker (Tracy) of Reeds Spring, Mo.; daughter, Ann Forward of Columbia, Mo.; brother, Dr. George Forker (Donna), of Tucson, Ariz. Grandchildren include Nikki Forker, Sara Forward, Samantha Forward, Kate Forward, Emma Forker Schrag (Brock), Caleb Forker (Sophie), Brenda Forker and Caroline Forker. He is also survived by a daughter-in-law Debbie Lemke Forker (widow of son, William) of Santa Barbara, Calif. Lee was predeceased by his parents, Edson W. and Mary Forker; his son, William R. Forker; and a brother, Charles R. Forker. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials in his honor may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice. Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service & Crematory, 12 E. Ash St., Columbia, MO 65203 (573) 449-4153. Condolences may be left online for the family at

Published June 16, 2023