Lloyd Furman, mayor of Langley from 1994 to 2004, died suddenly at his home Monday, Jan. 6.
His wife Marilyn was with him when he died unexpectedly. Furman had a number of health problems, including open heart surgery last year, “but he seemed to be doing really good,” Marilyn said.
She and Lloyd were married 57 years. She came to the island to teach school and they first met on a blind date when they went bowling in Everett with friends.
Furman and friend Ivan Little were featured in the South Whidbey Record last year as both were awaiting kidney transplants. Furman never got his and was still undergoing dialysis at the time of his death, said his son Scott.
“But he was doing fine, he was doing good,” Scott said Tuesday. “I called him in the morning and everything was good, this was out of the blue.”
Furman leaves another son, Terry, as well as four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Service arrangements had not been made as of Tuesday, but Scott Furman expected they would take place early next week. An announcement will be made in Saturday’s Record.
During his working life, Furman specialized in turning around financially troubled lumber mills. He was born on the island but he and Marilyn lived in seven states during his career. They came back home to retire in 1993.
Furman, whose grandfather was Langley’s first mayor, quickly grew interested in the politics of his hometown and ran for city council. “We called him landslide Lloyd,” said Scott with a chuckle, because he won the council seat by a single vote. But he went on to be elected mayor twice.
Kim Berto called Lloyd Furman “uncle” but he was really just a lifelong family friend. Her father, Maxwelton farmer Abe Luhn, and Furman played together as boys. “Lloyd was a great guy and had a lot of really, really great friends,” she said.
Neil Colburn, who succeeded Furman as mayor, lamented the loss of his old friend. “He pretended to be a Republican but he was a mushball,” said Colburn, a confirmed Democrat. “For Lloyd, it was mostly pragmatism. We came from different schools, but we were friends, he brought a lot of stability back to City Hall.” Colburn was on the council when Furman was mayor.
Furman wasn’t without blemishes. He tended to be secretive at times. He knew long before others that Puget Sound Energy was planning to close its Langley emergency generator, for example. By the time the council found out about it, it was too late to stop. And as a joke on the late Barney Hein, an irascible opponent of many city actions, Furman named the new pumpout station at the marina “Barney.” He was later persuaded by the council to remove the name.
But overall, Furman was a sharp money manager and kept the city on a steady course, said Colburn. “He was the first one to work every morning. He was a good friend.”
The Langley City Council held a moment of silence at its meeting Monday night out of respect for Furman. “I know him as a longtime neighbor and friend and know he will be missed,” said Hal Seligson, mayor pro-tem.