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1924 Antonia 2018

Antonia Forni

March 12, 1924 — July 27, 2018

Antonia W. Forni (Toni) was born in March of 1924 in Cebu City on the island of Cebu, Philippines. Toni's father by trade was a farmer, with an orchard in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California, and the descendant of a Scottish sea Captain from the late 1800's. Toni's mother was of Italian heritage with the family's cattle ranch dating back to the ~1860's located nearby, close to Pyramid Peak in the Sierra Nevada's. Some time before Toni's birth, the family chose the more difficult path to move to the Philippine Islands and spent the next decade(s) as Presbyterian Missionaries in what would be considered a difficult part of the world, at a difficult time where even a simple drink of un-boiled water could prove fatal. Toni spent her early years growing up on the island of Cebu.

Under the rising tide of threats of hostilities in the Asia Pacific region and other parts of the world, the family moved back to the ranch in California. The ~8000 mile sea crossing was more or less uneventful, with the possible exception of a flying fish making a wrong turn through a port hole into the family's cabin. The family survived the event, but the fate of the fish is unclear. Toni graduated from El Dorado High School in June of 1941, and went on to earn a degree from UC Berkeley majoring in Mathematics.

Toni leveraged her studies in Mathematics, combined with the dawn of the computer age to focus her career in computer science and the Aerospace Industry. Much of her later work focused on supporting the Planetary Ephemeris Program (PEP), a computer program which predicts the position and velocities of the planets, moons, and other objects in the solar system. PEP was an essential tool, used by teams at MIT, Harvard, Caltech, Lincoln Lab, JPL, NASA, Goldstone, Haystack, Arecibo, and supported the Viking and Voyager missions in the mid 1970's which required precise timing, a non-negotiable schedule, and alignment of the planets to obtain the necessary gravitational boost while passing each planet. Her work also supported teams which went on to prove parts of Einstein's theory of General Relativity that predicted gravitational lenses which bend space (i.e. light waves) around gravitational objects. Her career continued at MIT until the mid. 80's when she retired.

Toni is the eldest daughter of a family of seven. Of note is Toni's eldest brother who was an honored Professor at Harvard in the field of Economics and labor relations who served an advisory role to every United States President from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, and was Secretary of Labor in the mid. 70's. Toni is survived by her son Ronald, her youngest sister Dorothy (Dot), and her Granddaughter Samantha. Ronald went on to earn an Engineering degree from Caltech. As coincidence would have it, Samantha's mother is Brasilian from a cattle ranching family in Northern Brasil with a history perhaps similar to that of Toni's mother's family, but at a different time and place in history.

Toni was a loving and devoted mother and enjoyed time with her son at the beach during her free time, spending her later years at her long time residence in Lexington. She enjoyed celebrations during the Holidays and other occasions, while taking care of her dog Muffin. The world is a better place as a result of Toni's life and all those past, present, and future who brave the more difficult path to venture to new places and willing to accept & contribute to different cultures.


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