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Carolyn Hall FURNISS

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FURNISS, Carolyn Hall
Carolyn Hall Furniss passed away quietly on Monday (October 22, 2012) after a long illness. Mrs. Furniss was born Carolyn Virginia Hall on November 24, 1918 in York Pennsylvania, where she was raised and attended public schools. In 1936 she matriculated at Millersville State Teachers College in Millersville, Pa, there studied library science, and received her diploma in 1940. While in college Carolyn Hall met and fell in love with Millersville classmate Carl Furniss, of Spruce Grove, PA. They were married on August 28, 1941. Carolyn and Carl set up housekeeping on the James River in Newport News, VA, and their first child, Carl Thomas, Jr., was born in April, 1943. In 1944, with Carl serving in the Pacific, Carolyn took baby Tom to Lancaster, Pa, where, after the war, Carolyn gave birth to a second child, Constance Virginia, on January 4, 1947. Carl took a job with Connecticut General Life in Philadelphia, and, while living in suburbs Lansdowne and Swarthmore, Carolyn and Carl completed their family with two sons, James Markel in April, 1948 and Robert Philip in December, 1954. In 1957 the family moved north to Connecticut, where Carl soon became Manager of Connecticut General's statewide sales office, and they settled in for a 15-year stay at 47 Concord St., West Hartford. Here Carolyn devoted herself to the health and well-being of her children. Putting her library science to use, she helped establish and maintain school libraries in Whiting Lane Elementary and Plant Junior High and later served as co-president of the Hall High School PTA. In her efforts to feed, clothe, and equip her family with the latest and the best, Carolyn kept the merchants of West Hartford merchants on their toes, and she became a local legend for her good-hearted and saavy patronage. Carl and Carolyn were - at least once, each - Presidents of the PTA's of every school their children attended - Whiting Lane, Plant Junior High and Hall High School. In the early 70s Carolyn and Carl moved to 77 Bloomfield Ave, the family room, kitchen, and swimming pool of which were familiar hang-outs for nine grandchildren, who knew they'd find liberality and kindness in Grandmommy's home. With retirement Carolyn and Carl began spending winters in Kona, Hawaii, where they entertained waves of vacationing young Furniss families. Carolyn spent the last decade of her life at Duncaster Retirement Community in Bloomfield. There her six great-grandchildren made her smile, and there husband Carl cared for her in her last illness. Carolyn Furniss was a person of remarkable physical and spiritual beauty, whose simple kindness made all in her company - family or strangers -- at ease and familiar. In a quiet, unassuming way, she was also a trend-setter and role model for all who knew her: that unusual individual who could be curious about the cutting-edge while grounded in tradition. Her children remember how she took them from red meat to purple corn chips without losing Posey's pudding in the process. They remember avant-garde art on the wall and kindergarten art on the fridge. She will always be for them - and, particularly, for the ever-patiently-waiting Carl - a person for whom time present, past, and future were meaningless distinctions, because time itself never made sense to her. Carolyn Furniss is survived by her husband, Carl, sister Jean, four children, nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. They celebrate her life, which will always be a theme in the stories of their own.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Nov. 7, 2012
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