July 22, 2012

Welcome to the memorial blog of Forrest Gok.  Please share your reminiscences of Forrest by clicking on the comments link below. If you are uncomfortable submitting your email address, just make up one.


Many thanks to Chris Chow for recording the memorial service at the Empress of China Restaurant on August 2

Click to view memorial service video


A Picasa web album has been created where anyone can send photos.  Attach a single photo to your email and send it to the following email address:


The subject line of your email will appear as the caption for the photo (no need for quotes).  For example, there is a photo titled Greg’s wedding – Vancouver, 1989.  Be as descriptive as possible.  Keep the photo’s resolution lower if you can (1024 x 768 pixels is fine for viewing on the web). Anyone signed into their gmail or google account can post comments on individual photos in the Picasa web album. If you do not have one, you can create a google account using any email address you wish by clicking here.

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San Francisco Journal

July 31, 2012

The following information was provided by Rita Yee

San Francisco Journal, 1974-80

Forrest was a contributing editor and prolific writer for the San Francisco Journal, a weekly Asian American newspaper. I think this was his first writing job after he graduated from college.

His journalism contacts with the community paved many seamless next steps as a publicist for important Asian American events and community projects.

From 1974-1980, his articles covered every aspect of Asian American news. He was also the arts critic and captured the lively 70’s and 80’s Asian American theater, film and arts scene.

Some of Forrest’s last articles for the San Francisco Journal show the wide range of issues impacting Asians in America. Forrest was on the scene to witness many of these major events. Russell Lowe, who also worked at the San Francisco Journal, has provided the following list of articles Forrest wrote in 1980,

4/9/1980 Bilingual Employees Protest At “Talk In”
5/7/1980 C.A.N. Charlie Chan Vows to Continue Protest
5/28/1980 An interview with James Hong
7/23/1980 District Activists Gear Up For August 19 Supes Election
7/30/1980 The New Media Militants: or the dominant culture tries to put the squeeze on…

After the San Francisco Journal closed in 1980, Forrest continued to write reviews on Asian American films and cover news on the arts scene. He actively participated in leading a community protest against a Charlie Chan movie.

Here is a sample of his work:

Forrest, publicist for “The Fall of the I-Hotel”

Chew on “Dim Sum” (What a clever headline! Forrest was a witty wordsmith.)

Forrest Gok, was one of the spokespersons for the Coalition of Asians to Nix Charlie Chan, C.A.N. Chan, He assisted in leading a protest group against the opening of the movie, “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen.” I think the picket line was at the Alhambra Theater on Polk Street.

He and other San Francisco Journal staff helped design and print the poster. The C.A.N. Chan poster is in an exhibit at the Oakland Museum.


July 29, 2012

Forrest Michael Gok, March 18,1954-July 12, 2012 . He was born in San Francisco, attended Lowell High School and the University of California Berkeley. Forrest was very active in the Chinese Community, was always willing to help those in need, and spent much of his adult life contributing his time to various charitable organizations. His career in development and public relations include, the Chinatown Community Development Center, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, Asian Health Services, Asian Business League of San Francisco, and Self-Help for the Elderly. He was also very active in his volunteer work at Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. Forrest resided in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Francisco for most of his 58 years. He is survived by his loving cousins and a number of very special friends, his parents preceded him in death. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation and/or Self Help for the Elderly. For more information please visit Forrest’s Blog: https://forrestgok.wordpress.com. A private memorial service will be held.

Felicia Lowe Tribute

July 27, 2012

The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation was shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of former Board President, Forrest Gok. A consummate fund developer and publicist, AIISF was the beneficiary of his skills during the fertile days of growing the organization and funding strategies that led to the successful preservation of the Immigration Station barracks. Even off the board, he gave of his time, most notably as the lively, dynamic auctioneer at AIISF’s annual dinners.

Rare is the person whose professional career so defined his commitment to the community. The Chinatown Community Development Center, Asian Health Services, Self-Help for the Elderly are among the organizations for which he worked over the years. Forrest was also a loyal supporter of the arts, providing his genius as a publicist to writers and filmmakers alike. He handled the world premiere of my documentary, “Carved in Silence.” He will be sorely missed and remembered for his wry humor, impeccable taste, thoughtfulness, and generousity of spirit.

Forrest’s friend Diane kindly provided the following information. Note the emphasis on fundraising, ahem.

GOK, Forrest (to UC Berkeley): Intramurals, Cheapskate Club, CSF (California Scholarship Federation), Scroll, H-10 Treasurer, L-11 Treasurer, H-11 Vice President, H-12 Class President, L-12 Vice President, Reg (Homeroom) Rep, Reg Vice President, BCO (Board of Class Officers), BCO Vice Chairman, BCO Properties Commissioner, BCO Interim Chairman, Reg President, Senior Prom Committee, Junior Prom Committee, BCO Dance Committee, Ticket Seller, Chairman Junior Exclusive, Soph Exclusive Committee, Chairman Junior Prom Publicity, Grad Nite Committee, Senior Exclusive Committee, Senior Dinner Committee, Student Advisory Committee, Honor Roll

Fall 1971
The Class of Fall 1971 began one cold, blustery day in January 1969. We were introduced to the disciplinarians who were to keep us in bondage for eleven minutes each day for the next three years. Mr. Carl Koenig, our class sponsor, immediately instilled in our minds that the name of the game was money. We elected for our first term Debbie Garcia, Jane Strauss, Maria Wong, and Jeff Lang. Our immediate fund raisers included the infamous “Bomo” sale which saw Lowell L-10’s being sold into human bondage and our ever-popular coat hanger which netted a whopping sum of four dollars.

The following year brought us wads of money and President Abby Jeung, VP Laureen Jang, Secretary Sue Friedlander (Three cheers for Women’s Lib), and Treasurer Forrest Gok. Our first assorted fruit sucker sale went quite successfully. We worked closely with the Spring 1971 class to raise money for our jointly held “A Time for Us” at the St. Francis Colonial Room. Among our joint cash collecting tasks were the old 261-a newspaper fold-in drive and the football game concessions.

Our H-11 term brought our class closer to the activities scene. Our treasury was depleted by the expense of the Prom, and it was the job of the new officers–Bill Lahl, Forrest Gok, Clare Jang, and Sarah Wong–to gather greenbacks. We staged an interesting Halloween Picnic on Angel Island where we, along with the L-11’s, played the “mummy game,” barbecued chicken, sampled A. J. Pinfold’s Spam Surprise, and hiked for miles. This term also brought to life our Senior Spirit Newspaper, the longest-running class newspaper in Modern Lowell history, (10 issues) under Editor Helen Yee. What was to be our final exclusive, the biggy–“They Shoot Lasagna, Don’t They??”–was held on January 8, 1971, with a Roaring 20’s theme. Preceding “Lasagna” was, of course, “Ecliptic” and “Spring Fling.”

Valiant tries to have a variety of fund raisers only floundered, and we again had a couple of candy sales and a variation on the renowned “Bomo” sale, the ten dollar Brown Bag Bomo Sale, which brought to life Naomi’s shortcake and Sue’s “Lox on a Bagel.”

Our latest project became the Bestline products sale. This sale, also known as the Suds Sacrifice, was well-received by our generous parents or rather kids who talked their parents into buying the stuff. We as H-12’s elected Forrest Gok as President, Ron Kremling as VP, and two holdovers, Secretary Clare Jang and Treasurer Sarah Wong.

Our last term was highlighted with the advent of cheerful supporters: Debbie Yuen, the Prom Chairman, Elaine Lee, Leslie Brooks, Dede Steinfeld, Sue and Glenn Shelly, Robert Lee, Katrina Loskutoff, Helen, Maria, Tina, and lots of other assorted characters.

Our Senior Picnic was held at Turtle Rock Ranch, at the cost of only a dollar. Mr. Koenig’s burgers were the main attraction along with the dreary weather, Carrie’s dancing, and Wayne, Bob, Steve, and Brad’s indiscriminate shoving of every human into the pool including some non-floaters like…well, never mind. Our money came from our suckers, the 261-a vending machine, and the Walnetto distributor in 261-A.

Senior Buttons were sold by Ron, and many people were after the designer’s head when the unique design became known. Our Senior Dinner at Joe Jung’s provided us with the Pop Poll announcements and Eric Bickel’s folly, the Senior Movie, which showed us at our hammiest best, “Sparkling in the Sand,” the January 22 Senior Prom, was heavily attended.

We closed out our Lowell days at the auditorium, where it all began, amidst tears and sobs and speeches by Bill Lahl, Maria Wong, Sally Susnowitz, and Forrest Gok. Our high school education was finished as we, complete with cap and gown, raced out of the auditorium to the sounds of “With heads bared, we stand…” The Class of Fall 1971 was no more.

Forrest Gok
Class President
Fall 1971