Barbara J. Furnia, 86, passed away peacefully at home in the presence of her husband Clarence in Martin City on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.
She was born in Sacramento, California, the youngest of eight children, to Albert and Sarah Sullivan, and was the last surviving member of her family. She graduated from Grant Union High School and attended American River Junior College. Barbara was married at St. Francis Catholic Church in Sacramento, California, in 1952.
She is survived by her husband of 68 years, retired Air Force SMS Clarence J. Furnia of Martin City, daughter Lisa Bruso of Martin City, sons Joseph Furnia of Granby, Massachusetts, Mark Furnia of Winter Park, Florida, and Michael Furnia of Palm Harbor, Florida, son-in-law Benjamin Bruso, and daughters-in-law Denise McKeehan, Gloria Furnia, Donna Furnia and Kim Furnia. Barbara is survived by eight grandchildren, Stephen McLaughlin, Marisa Pronovost, Eric McLaughlin, Mary Jean Furnia, Christina Flores, Matthew Furnia, Michael J. Furnia, and Heather Furnia;, and 11 great-grandchildren, Michael, Garrett, Violet, Jack, Adaline, Alice, Ryan, Zoie, Austyn, Grace and Liam.
Barbara was a strong, independent woman and world traveler. In 1955, with Clarence now stationed in Japan, she boarded a Navy troop transport for Yokohama, Japan, with two children and the family dog in tow. Her three youngest children were all “Made in Japan.”
Barbara was an avid tennis player in her youth, as were her older sisters, and learned to play golf from her older brother, Buddy Sullivan, a former PGA tour pro. She began sailing in her early 50s, and once sailed with her husband from Florida to Rhode Island.
Barbara loved to sing and dance. Living in Germany, she joined the Ramstein Square Dancing Club. She enjoyed playing pinochle with friends and was an avid reader of mysteries.
She went back to work while living at Clark Field in the Philippines in the late 1960s, and earned recognition from the Air Force for her superior work performance. Returning to the states, she continued to work in the private sector until she retired. Barbara spent the last 20 years of her life living in Martin City, and continued to travel throughout the U.S. until the last year of her life.
Vigil service and viewing will be held at St. Richard Catholic Church, located at 1210 9th Street West in Columbia Falls on Sunday, March 1, at 7 p.m. On Monday, March 2, a funeral Mass will be held at St. Richard Catholic Church at 11 a.m., followed by a reception and lunch in the parish hall. Barbara will be buried in Granby, Massachusetts, next to her youngest son, Matthew, in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Barbara Furnia to St. Richard Parish, P.O. Box 207, Columbia Falls, Montana 59912; or Friends of Hospice/ Frontier Hospice, 42 Bruyer Way, Kalispell, MT 59901.
Darlington Cremation and Burial Service is caring for Barbara and her family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Barbara Furnia, please visit our floral store.