Remembering Faithful Friends

The UMHEF community celebrates the legacies of Bob Forrest and Bishop Robert & Mrs. Syble Spain.

Bob Forrest, Bishop Robert Spain, Mrs. Syble Spain

UMHEF’s mission to support the higher education of United Methodist (UM) students was greatly impacted by the lives of Robert “Bob” Forrest and Bishop Robert and Mrs. Syble Spain. Our community mourns their recent passing, but celebrates the immense contributions they made to funding scholarships that will continue for generations.

Long before joining the UMHEF board of trustees in 2017, Bob Forrest was committed to seeing UM members gain access to quality higher education. The Martha Forrest Scholarship Fund, endowed by Bob in honor of his wife Martha in 2013, has awarded $141,182 to UM students in the Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church through quadruple matches to our UM Dollars for Scholars program. Beginning in 2022, Bob and Martha established a new UMHEF endowed scholarship fund to offer scholarships to Georgia Methodist minority students attending Clark Atlanta University, Paine College, and Gammon Theological Seminary, which are all Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the state.

Bishop Robert Spain and Mrs. Syble Spain diligently sought to help UM students in Tennesee obtain a higher education. The UMHEF scholarship fund named after the couple was created in 2006 to support UM students attending Martin Methodist College. The college became the University of Tennesee Southern in 2021, and preference is now given to UM students attending the school. To date, the fund has awarded $248,250!

Bob Forrest and Bishop Spain both passed away in September 2022, and Syble in April 2023. It is with profound affection and gratitude that the UMHEF community remembers these friends for their unmatched support and exemplary legacies.

Read about other UMHEF friends, facts, and figures in our 2022 Annual Review.