Joseph M. Forni, 42, president of Combined Health Agencies

November 15, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Joseph M. Forni, the president and chief professional officer of the Combined Health Agencies of Maryland, was described by those who knew him as a man who worked tirelessly both in his profession and as a volunteer in the community.

"He was a person who was totally in support of the community," said Larry Walton, head of the United Way of Central Maryland, of which CHA is a charter member. "He worked hard for the United Way, giving speeches and tours. Joe just went out of his way anytime we asked him."

"He's going to be a difficult person to replace," said Mr. Walton.

Forni, a 42-year-old Ellicott City resident, died Tuesday in a two-car collision in the Oella community in Baltimore County.

Services will be at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Trinity Assembly of God, 2122 W. Joppa Road in Lutherville.

Mr. Forni worked with charitable organizations his entire professional life. As head of Combined Health Agencies since 1993, he led marketing and fund-raising efforts for a consortium of 24 health charities.

He also helped the organizations recruit volunteers.

In his time at CHA, Mr. Forni reorganized the agency to make it more efficient and developed an operating manual for CHA and associated agencies.

"He was a tireless worker who loved his work and was enthusiastic about it," said David S. Sachs, the CHA board chairman. "He never gave up on an issue and kept hammering until it got done."

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised on Long Island, Mr. Forni graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in 1976, then became district director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association in New York. In 1979, he went to Des Moines, Iowa, as associate director of the American Heart Association.

From 1986 to 1992, he was executive director of the New York-based Leukemia Society of America then spent a year as vice president of community development for the New York chapter of the Arthritis Foundation before coming to Baltimore to head CHA.

Jeri Falk, president of the Maryland Lupus Foundation, said Mr. Forni was a great organizer who was able to bring together 24 diverse organizations for a common cause.

"He consolidated our efforts and gave us a real vision," she said.

Mr. Forni, who was divorced, is survived by a son, Erik Forni of Ellicott City; and his parents, Mark and Peggy Forni of Commack, N.Y.

Pub Date: 11/15/96

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