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Oregon mall shooting victim Steven Forsyth an ‘amazing man’

Steven Forsyth, who died at the hands of a masked gunman in an Oregon mall, was an “amazing man, very caring, very loving,” a friend said, while his family remembered his sense of humor and zest for life.

Forsyth, 45, who was married with two children, coached youth sports in West Linn, Ore. He also operated a kiosk in the Clackamas Town Center in suburban Portland, where he sold wooden coasters. That’s where he encountered Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, who was armed with an assault rifle, authorities said. Roberts killed Forsyth and hospice nurse Cindy Yuille, 54, and wounded Kristina Shevchenko, 15, before taking his own life, authorities said.

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Roberts had no connection to his victims, officials said.

The day after Forsyth’s death, his family described how he lived.

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“He has a great sense of humor and a zest for life,” the family said in a statement. “He had vision and a belief in others that brought great joy and value to many lives. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”

Others told similar stories.

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Marijean Johnson, of West Linn, said her son Hunter, 13, and Forsyth’s son Alex were good friends. Johnson, a family friend, called him an “amazing man, very caring, very loving.”

Forsyth coached youth football and basketball, she said. “He was fabulous, very good at communicating with the boys.”

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Johnson said Forsyth had coached her son in basketball and would take Hunter on trips to the beach. “He was a man I could trust to take care of my child,” she said.

Todd MacClanathan, president of West Linn Youth Football, said in an email, “Steve was a valued coach within our program and exhibited great character, kindness and an abundance mentality towards everyone he met. These are the very qualities we need to promote in our young men and boys to discourage such senseless tragedies and acts of evil.”

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Forsyth studied business and political science at the University of San Diego from 1985 to 1989, a college spokeswoman said.

Forsyth and his father had recently launched a business selling eco-friendly wood coasters at the mall, said Abraham Choe, who was supplying him with coasters produced under the University of Oregon trademark. The Forsyths did fine wood-carving on the coasters by machine, he said.

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“He was very energetic, and I could tell he was ambitious, you know?” Choe said. “We’re young, fresh out of college, and this guy, he had this same kind of passion that young people had. That’s why we loved him. He had this, like, fire about him.”

Steve Reed, president of Vision Media in the Seattle area, said Forsyth was a good friend and former co-worker in the 1990s when they both worked at Entercom Communications in Portland. Reed described Forsyth as “a personal board member,” someone who listened to personal and business problems and always offered advice.

Reed described him as a “incredible father and family man.”

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When Reed started Vision Media, a media buying and marketing firm, a decade ago, Forsyth was ready with advice, he said. In turn, when Forsyth launched a marketing firm in 2007, Reed said he returned the favor.

Reed said he and Forsyth exchanged voicemail last week in an effort to catch up. Through the messages, they gently ribbed each other for not picking up the phone.

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“We both knew we hadn’t talked in a long time,” Reed said. “Both of us were saying, ‘Oh are you screening my calls? Are you too busy for me?’”

Those who knew the family took to Twitter to call for prayers.

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“Thoughts and prayers go out to Alex Forsyth and his family. Something like this should never happen to our community. Pls pray #StayStrong,” Brett Hazel, a student at West Linn High School, tweeted.

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