Clifton Bowman Forster was born in Manila in 1924, the son of the director of the Red Cross in the Philippines. The comfortable life of an expatriate child growing up in pre-war Manila abruptly ended with the Japanese invasion and internment as a prisoner of war during his senior year in high school. Following repatriation of the Forster family in late 1943, Cliff joined the U.S. Navy and served in Washington D.C.
After the war he attended Stanford University, graduating in 1949. That summer he married Nancy Keeney, and together they traveled to his first Foreign Service post in the southern Philippines. That post was followed by Japanese language and area training at Yale University; during a 34-year career with the U.S. Information Service, much of Cliff’s time was spent living and working in the land of his former captors or working on Asian affairs during assignments to Washington. He retired in 1983, moving to Hawaii where he was actively involved in foreign affairs organizations. He died in Tiburon, California, on September 19, 2006.