Gary C. Furlong, 79, husband of Polly Reiter Furlong, of Dover, Pa., formerly of Media, Pa., met his savior on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, at UPMC Memorial Hospital in York, Pa.
Born Feb. 14, 1942, in Johnstown, he was the son of the late Clarence E. and Lois Schaffer Furlong.
He graduated from Conemaugh High School in 1960.
Gary's father, a steel worker, helped him to study while at Penn State University, and he graduated in 1964. Gary met Polly in a campus group, Innervarsity Christian Fellowship. They had many lifetime friends from there, and helped organize and attend four reunions at State College.
For 46 years, Gary had been a chemical/environmental engineer, working for Sunoco Co. in Philadelphia. Sunoco was a PEW-owned family centered company.
Business travel required Gary to work at refineries in the midwest or the Gulf states. He found dining in places like New Orleans to be pretty amazing for a mill town boy. Gary ate frog legs, alligator and prawns on the company!
Polly and Gary traveled extensively, starting in their 20s, camping in national parks on the east coast. In 1977, they went to Israel, Jordan and Greece with her parents' Harrisburg church. Later, they spent a month driving through the British Isles. Polly's Aunt May Schwab of Mars, was a war bride and had family in England and Wales. May's brothers and niece welcomed the Furlongs into their homes.
Three other trips to Northern Europe were done by auto-train. They enjoyed traveling and being totally on their own, learning foreign phrases, exchanging money in each country, and moving slowly to savor it. In their 56 years of marriage, they saw Hawaii, camped on St. John, the Virgin Islands and took their daughter, April, through many Western states, and they also traveled to Alaska, Bermuda and Portugal.
Gary was a member of St. David's Evangelical Congregational church in Dover. He sang in the men's gospel group that visited nursing homes. His daughter, April, sang duets with him sometimes on her birthday and even on Christmas Eve.
Upon retiring in 2007, Gary fulfilled his wife's dream of returning to the countryside. Moving 20 minutes north of Gettysburg, they found 18 acres along a creek with fields and woods. Here, Gary was able to hunt on his own land bagging a doe with a bow and in another season, one with a rifle. He and April fished for bass and catfish under large sycamore trees.
Watching golf was a passion and together his family went to driving ranges and small courses. One month before passing on, he played nine holes with a decent score and was so excited!
Quiet and unassuming, Gary was blessed by the love and support for him and his girls during his last 20 days on earth. In the ICU, Gary's wife, daughter, and son-in-law spent five hours singing and encouraging him with loving memories and Bible verses. One hour after they left, he slipped away. Jesus said, "In this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer-for I have overcome the world!"
Surviving are his wife, Polly A. Reiter Furlong, whom he married in Evans City on July 17, 1965; his daughter, April Constance Thomas (Barry) of East Berlin Pa.; a sister, Patricia G. Mauk of Conemaugh, Pa.; and a niece, Tara Barnes of Pittsburgh.
FURLONG - Friends of Gary C. Furlong, who died Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, are invited to a gravesite service to be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at West Union Cemetery, Bakerstown Warrendale Road, Gibsonia. His brother-in-law, the Rev. Dr. Dennis Reiter will officiate.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
in his memory.
Arrangements are under the direction of McDonald-Aeberli Funeral Home, Mars.
Directions and condolences are available at www.mcdonald-aeberli.com.
Published by Butler Eagle on Sep. 14, 2021.