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Forrest Turpen—saying goodbye to our leader, mentor, and friend

By January 19, 2018Featured, What's New

Forrest Turpen: 1937 - 2017

Dear CEAI Family,

I am sorry to report to you that we have lost our brother in Christ, Forrest Turpen. After suffering a stroke in early November, Forrest never fully recovered, and finally went to be with Jesus on December 21, 2017. His wife Judy, whom he loved dearly, shared with me that today would have been Forrest's 80th birthday.

Forrest with former and current CEAI Executive Directors Finn Laursen and David Schmus

Forrest was a transformational figure in the history of Christian Educators Association International. At the time of his becoming Executive Director in 1983, CEAI was a network of just over 1,000 educators, mostly in California. By the time he passed the baton to Finn Laursen in 2003, a tenure of 20 years, CEAI saw an exponential increase in membership, and had become a nationally-known ministry and professional association offering substantial benefits to members. Forrest Turpen is the architect of what CEAI is today.

But more important than building CEAI is the profound impact he had on us personally. I will always remember when he came to visit my classroom, and invited me to get more involved in ministering to educators. That day changed my life.

Doing what he loved: Praying for educators at a recent LIFT America Gathering

What I will always remember about Forrest was his gentle compassion combined with dogged determination to see the gospel proclaimed to the children of this nation. To that end, not only was Forrest a leader with CEAI in various capacities for 34 years, but was also involved in promoting ministries like Child Evangelism Fellowship, Released Time Christian/Bible Education, and many more.

Forrest and Judy were married for 54 years, and she served right alongside of Forrest, being heavily involved in editing Teachers of Vision magazine for many years. Judy shared with me that Forrest “told me almost every day he loved me.”  If you would like to share any memories of Forrest or encourage Judy and their family, please visit his Caring Bridge site.

Judy is asking that, in lieu of flowers and to honor Forrest, donations be sent to CEAI. Judy shared that “He loved students and learning; thus, his career choice as a public school teacher and administrator. He was passionate about the ministry of Christian Educators Association because it combined his love of education and his desire to mentor educators in their legal rights in public schools. In turn, they could live out their faith so students could see Christ in them.”  Any funds received will be used to fund direct ministry to educators or scholarships for missional future educators.

Finally, if any are interested in attending his celebration of life, it will be held on Friday, January 26, at 11:00 am at Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, CA. The Turpen family is asking that news of Forrest’s passing not be posted on social media.

May the rest of us be faithful to continue Forrest’s amazing legacy. Please keep Judy and the Turpen family in your prayers.


David Schmus
Executive Director
Christian Educators Association International


  • Pam Joranlien says:

    Forrest loved the Lord, family and friends. A good example for all of us.

  • Vernal A. Lind says:

    Judy and Family,
    You have my sympathy. I have known Forrest for years through CEAI. He was a special person and did much for Christian teachers throughout the U,S, I treasure the memories that I have. May the Lord bless his memory. In Christian love, Vernal Lind

  • Katrina Boyd says:

    My life was so enriched as I observed such a godly man be relentless in his loyalty to our God and His people. I served with Forrest on the Board for California Released Time Christian Education, an organization which supports Bible classes for the public schools during school hours. I am a better person and Christian due to Forrest’s leadership.