Roger Furman

WESTERLO — The grassy shoulders of summer roads were shorn broadly and with pride when Roger Furman and his identical twin, Ralph, were on the mowers.

Mr. Furman lived in Westerlo his entire life and worked for the Albany County Department of Public Works, known in his youth as “the county.”

Roger Furman died on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 of respiratory illness at the Community Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany.  He was 71.

Born in Albany on July 16, 1942, Mr. Furman was son of the late Stanley and Dorothy Lockwood Furman. They had a dairy farm where he and his three siblings would help herd the cows and bale hay.

Each child had a horse to ride, with which they would go to rodeo-style shows in Berne.

“You get a bicycle, you have a horse,” said his brother, Gerald Furman.

The Furman boys took after their father, who was a foreman for the county department in Westerlo and Voorheesville.

As teens, Gerald Furman recalled, they would sneak each other into the Greenville drive-in, hiding in a car trunk or behind a seat. Roger Furman enjoyed Elvis Presley movies, at the drive-in and the Palace Theatre in Albany; he also liked classic country music.

Mr. Furman attended Berne-Knox High School. He started working as a laborer with the county in his teens and later mowed along roadsides in the summers with his brother.

Retired at age 53, Mr. Furman liked to visit the old cemeteries of the Hilltowns and living friends for a brief chat. He enjoyed talking about the history of local towns.

“He had time to kill,” said Mr. Furman, noting his brother would drive around just to ride, sometimes going south to Hunter Mountain or Windham.

The roads he traveled in retirement weren’t as well tended, some thought, as they were during Mr. Furman's career.

The twins mowed further off the road than is done today, his brother said.

“Everybody,” he commented, “said they miss it like they used to do.”

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Mr. Furman is survived by his son, David Furman, and his wife, Crystal; his brothers, Ronald Furman and his wife, Jone, and Gerald Furman and his wife, Nina; his sister-in-law, Janet Furman; and a host of family and friends. 

His wife, Carol, died in 2005; his twin brother, Ralph, died in 2011.

Calling hours will be Wednesday, Jan. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home, 4898 Route 81 in Greenville. Mourners may go online to ajcunninghamfh.com. Spring burial will be in Westerlo Rural Cemetery. 

Memorial donations may be made to the Westerlo Rescue Squad, Post Office Box 12, Westerlo, NY 12193.

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