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Kenton George Forsythe

July 21, 1944 July 9, 2023
Kenton George Forsythe
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Obituary for Kenton George Forsythe

Kenton George Forsythe, 78, of North Smithfield, RI, died surrounded by family on Sunday, July 9.

He was born on July 21, 1944 in Boston, MA to the late Richard Forsythe and Ena (Ingham) Forsythe. He graduated from Hopkins Grammar School in 1962, Yale University in 1966 with a degree in History, and UC Berkeley in 1968 with a Master of City Planning.

He started his career as a traffic planner at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, but in 1978 a life-long passion for audio led him to co-found Eastern Acoustics Works (EAW), a professional loudspeaker manufacturer. As a pioneering engineer, he introduced products and developed techniques that forever revolutionized the pro-audio industry, and EAW became synonymous with the Forsythe name. Millions worldwide have experienced his contributions to live sound as countless tours, bands, clubs, stadiums, theme parks, theaters, and houses of worship use products he designed. His most cherished project - the sound system installation at Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square for the Great Jubilee Easter Celebration in 2000 - continues to broadcast Papal addresses today. In 2011, the Parnelli Awards recognized him with the Audio Innovator Award for his lifetime contributions to the industry.

He was an eager collaborator, keen listener, and willing mentor; in an industry of egos he was an ideal partner focused on results not recognition. He had a professor’s passion and happily spent time sharing wisdom and insights with peers and newcomers alike. But his passion extended beyond the audio world. He was equally excited to learn about colleagues’ lives and families or reminisce about their favorite restaurants.

He was deeply proud of his alma mater, Yale University, both for the education he received and the opportunities it offered him. An enthusiastic member of the Yale Alumni Association of Rhode Island and the Yale Club of New York, he also volunteered to interview prospective students to promote the experiences he so cherished. The champion of many applicants, he would shed joyful tears when they gained acceptance.

A lifelong learner, he pored through books and would enthusiastically, also frequently emotionally, share the stories that resonated with him most. When the home bookshelves overflowed, his wife sent him packing to the library where his iconic tuft of white hair became a fixture wandering the stacks. Traveling with him was a history lesson, occasionally referred to as “vacation boot camp” by his children, but was mostly an opportunity to share his passion for culture, food, and drink with the people he loved. Above all he adored being a supportive Husband, Dad, Family Man, and Friend.

He was the loving husband of 42 years to Christine Chiacu-Forsythe; the devoted father of three children: Jeremy Forsythe, Jonathan (Mimi) Forsythe, and Kendra (Andrew) Forsythe Slafta; the cherished brother-in-law of Debra Chiacu and Karen (Chiacu) Recco; the caring uncle of Richard Overholt, Edward Overholt, and Kristen (Overholt) Ireland; the great-uncle of Reece Overholt, Lauren Ireland, and Matthew Ireland; and faithful cousin of Deanna (Aldrich) Henry. He was predeceased by brothers Richard Forsythe Jr. and James Forsythe, beloved sister Marjorie (Forsythe) Overholt, and the best-best man Lee Henry.

A ceremony and remembrance will be held on August 19 in Rhode Island with details available at a later date. In memoriam, please consider a donation to the North Smithfield Public Library in his name. Online donation details can be found here:

Checks can be mailed to PO Box 950, Slatersville, RI 02876. Please note “In memory of Kenton Forsythe”.

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