Herbert John Furman, Jr.

by Lynn McMillen
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Herbert John Furman, Jr. passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on May 3, 2023.


Herb was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert J. Furman, Sr. and Lorene Jones Furman; infant brother, Stephen Furman; brother, Stuart Furman; daughter, Rosemary Furman-Skelton; granddaughter, Leah Moorman; and son-in-law, John Rose. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Marian Perdue Furman; children, John (Melissa) Furman, Michael (Marianne) Furman, James (Barbara) Furman, Stephen (Lee) Furman, Mary Clare Rose, Anne Marie (Tom) Moorman, Teresa (Willy) Grey, Paul (Kati) Furman, and Laura (Brad) Soper. He is also survived by his sister, Margaret Tidwell; his sister-in-law, Leah (Gil) Weaver; 27 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; six nieces and nephews; and nine great nieces and nephews.


Herb was born in Rumford, Maine in 1933 and grew up in Corbin, Kentucky where he attended St. Camillus Academy. He played high school basketball and graduated as valedictorian in 1949. Herb moved to Florence, AL to attend Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) and in 1950 transferred to Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University). While at Auburn, Herb co-oped with the US Army Corps of Engineers at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL where he helped build the rocket launch pad.


Herb met the love of his life, Marian Perdue, in Auburn. They spent a lot of time together at the Auburn airport where they were both learning to fly. Herb graduated with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1955. The couple married on May 26, 1956 at Assumption Catholic Church in Selma, AL. Their first home together was in Fairhope, AL before he attended graduate school for a short time at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. From there, he lived and worked in Montgomery, Decatur, and Huntsville, AL. In 1964, Herb, Marian and their five young children moved to 615 Clifton Road in Camden, AL to help care for Marian’s grandmother in her elder years. It was here that Herb and Marian continued to grow their family until their last child was born in 1971 and where they continued to reside.


After moving to Camden, Herb was self-employed as a Professional Land Surveyor and Civil Engineer. From 1970 until 1984, Herb worked for Great American Homes in Camden, designing subdivisions and building homes. He eventually went back to private practice and for a short time held the position of Wilcox County Engineer. He knew the roads of southwest Alabama like the back of his hand. He had a superb sense of direction and knew every county and state road in Wilcox and surrounding counties until his death.


Herb was a founding member of Wilcox Academy, serving on the board and holding the position of President of the Board for many years. Herb loved sports and for the 19 years his children attended WA, he never missed a sporting event in which they participated. He continued to be a fan of WA athletics for many years afterward. He also loved to watch Auburn football and basketball and took great pride in his alma mater’s achievements.


Herb continued to fly throughout his life, maintaining his pilot’s license for decades. He was a member of the Civil Air Patrol in high school and again in Camden. Through the years, he enjoyed owning and flying a Piper Cub, a Cessna 120, and jointly owning a Cherokee 140. He built a Pietenpol experimental aircraft as a hobby later in life.


In addition to flying, Herb also loved the thrill of snow skiing and sailing. After their children were grown, Herb and Marian took trips out West to ski until their aging knees told them, “No more!” Herb’s favorite sport that he enjoyed until his passing was sailing. Over the years, he owned various sailboats, including Hobie Catamarans and 22’ Catalinas. Herb was a master sailor and could be found most summer weekends in Orange Beach, AL sailing the waters of Perdido Bay. He and Marian also chartered sailboats several times to explore the British Virgin Islands.


Most importantly, Herb Furman was a family man with a deep faith in God and a devotion to the Catholic Church. He lovingly raised five sons and five daughters, rarely ever raising his voice and always welcoming “extras” into his home. Herb had exemplary character, remarkable patience, and a calm demeanor. His faith in God and his love for Marian and his family are his legacy.  Throughout his life he relished gatherings of family and friends and spending time with his ever-growing family.


His grandchildren will serve as pallbearers.


The visitation will be held on May 5, 2023 from 5:00PM-7:00PM at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Camden where Herb was a devoted parishioner for over 50 years. The Funeral Mass will be held at St. Joseph’s on May 6th at 10:00 AM. Interment will follow at the Camden Cemetery.


Memorials may be made to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church; BAMA Kids, Inc.; Wilcox Academy; or to the charity of your choice.

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