Eugene D. “Gene” Furness, age 81, Clark, died in the Golden Living Center at Clark early Thursday, June 18, 2015 after a long illness with lung and kidney failure. He had entered the care center on Tuesday afternoon under Hospice care.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, June 23, at 10:30 a.m. in the St. Paul Lutheran Church at Clark with burial following in the Munt Hope Cemetery at Watertown. Visitation will be Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Furness Funeral Home at Clark and will continue at the Church after 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Condolences may be left at www.furnessfuneralhome.com.
He was born Eugene Donald Furness on April 16, 1934 at Watertown, the first born son of Elmer and Stella (Johnson) Furness. Gene attended Watertown schools, graduating from Watertown High School in 1952. He met and later married Joan Bierscheid on March 23, 1956 at Watertown. The couple lived in Watertown while he continued his education graduating with a B.A. in secondary education in 1958. He worked for a year for the City of Watertown in the electric division as a draftsman and then a brief time worked at the Watertown Co-op Elevator. In the fall of 1959, he was hired by the Clark School District as a teacher and coach. The couple moved to Clark that fall. He continued with the Clark School District serving as teacher, coach, elementary principal and athletic director and in 1975 became the High School principal. During this time he furthered his education by obtaining a B.A. in elementary education from Huron College in 1970 and a master’s degree in school administration in 1973 from Northern State University. In 1984 he took a job with the Waubay School District, still living in Clark, and served as High School principal, later as CEO and athletic director until retiring in 2000.
He was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church since 1959 where he had served as President and a Trustee as well as a member of numerous committees over the years. He enjoyed gardening – especially roses, going to concerts- especially Dixieland Jazz, watching sports and being with the grandchildren. Gene will long be remembered as a supporter of local sports and following many of the players over the years.
Grateful for having shared in his life is his wife Joan of Clark, sons, Greg of Clark, Geof (Misty) of Dell Rapids and Brad (Marsha) of Clark; grandchildren, Christopher and Kenlie Furness, brothers, Kenn Furness and Curt (Kathy) Furness all of Denver, CO, step-grandchildren, Cierra and Kelcie Hauf, Chad (Tara) Thomas, Chris Thomas, Danielle (Ed) Maack, Josh Thomas, Nick (Laura) Thomas and Micah Thomas and 14 step great-grandchildren. He also leaves in-laws, Janice Bierscheid of Watertown, Bob (Joan) Bierscheid of Roseville, MN and LaDonna Bierscheid of Watertown along with nieces and nephews.