Robert M. Forkish, 83, a former medical technician at the National Institutes of Health, died of cardiac arrest Friday at his home in Langley Park.
Mr. Forkish was born in Bucharest, Romania, and came to this country at the age of 2 with his family, who settled in Philadelphia. He joined the Pennsylvania National Guard at the age of 17 and served on active duty with the 109th Army Infantry in World War I. He participated in many of the campaigns in France, where he was severely wounded.
Mr. Forkish, who held the Purple Heart, returned to this country and was a patient at Walter Reed Army Hospital for a year before he was discharged. He remained here, took vocational training and became a saxophonist, playing with many of the bands and orchestras here.
He started work at NIH in the late 1930s and retired there in 1950. He then became a volunteer worker for the old Mount Alto Veterans Hospital and later the Veterans Administration Hospital here.
Mr. Forkish was a past commander of Mount Vernon Chapter No. 22 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. A 32nd degree Mason, he belonged to the New Jerusalem Lodge.
His marriage to Ruth Forkish ended in divorce.
Survivors include a daughter, Mary Heslop of Haymarket, Va.; two sons, Robert M. Jr., of Falls Church, and John, of California; two brothers, Max, of Bowie, and Martin, of Atlantic City, N.J.; two sisters, Bella Cohen of Philadelphia, and Ida Posner of Miami, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.