Ted “TJ” Furshong
Theodore John Furshong was born on October 23, 1939 at St. Anne’s Hospital in Anaconda, MT and passed from this life on February 19, 2021 in Missoula, MT. Ted was the youngest of six children born to Joseph and Ann (Manion) Furshong. For several years we gradually lost pieces of our husband, father, papa, uncle, and friend as he navigated the challenges of dementia.
TJ attended St. Peter’s and Anaconda Central High School and graduated with the class of 1957. He attended Carroll College in 1957-58 and the next two years at Western Montana College playing on championship football teams at both schools. In 1960, he left school for a job at Warm Springs first as an aide and later he worked on grounds maintenance. It was there where he first spotted a young nursing student from Butte and whom he asked to a New Year’s dance and later to be his bride.
Ted and Donna Whelan were joined in marriage on August 29, 1964 at St. Ann’s Church in Butte, MT. Together they raised three children – Peg, Mike and Jack at their home on East Park Avenue.
From 1965 to 1982 he worked for the Anaconda Company in the powerhouse as a 1st class steam engineer. From 1983 to 87, he worked a variety of handyman jobs, drove truck, worked at Montana Tech in the Heating Plant as well as at the INL Nuclear Plant in Idaho Falls. In 1987, he was hired at the University of Montana in the heating plant and powerhouse until his retirement in 2001.
Ted was deeply rooted in his catholic faith. In addition to growing up in the Catholic schools, he served as an altar boy. Over the years both he and Donna served on church council, led Cursillos, marriage preparation panels, he was an eucharistic minister at St. Peter’s, Holy Family and Blessed Trinity. In addition to his faith – service to others was an attribute that Ted blessed us all with. He could often be found doing something for the church, assisting in bringing mass to those who were in the hospital or nursing homes, making minor repairs at the church or convent, “fixing” anything that might need attention. Later in life he took great pride in making wooden crosses that were initially made from oak church benches that he adorned with copper for all of his relatives, friends and members of the church community.
When TJ was young, he was a natural athlete and had a passion for football, played basketball and had quite a reputation as a pitcher for the area traveling fast-pitch softball teams. As a bowler he competed in several state tournaments. Later in life Ted enjoyed listening to music while putzing in his yard or his workshop. Early mornings you could find him at the kitchen table reading his bible with a cup of coffee. He taught all three of his kids the card game of cribbage and often played following a family dinner. He and Donna enjoyed traveling to see grandkids, family, and following Grizzly athletics. He waited many years for the official title of “Papa” and he treasured spending time with his grandchildren Emma, Reena, Jesse and Leena.
TJ was always social – he loved to “check-in” on people. When the kids were younger and Donna was working, he would pack them up and go visit each of his siblings, never staying too long – just popping in to say hello, catch up on the latest news and then he was on to the next. That practice followed him throughout his life as he might stop in to say hello, bring you a cross, share a story or a joke, drop off donuts, share flowers or veggies from ‘his’ garden. He took delight in your smile, sharing a laugh and making you feel special in some small way.
He shared his love for the outdoors with friends and often spent weekends fishing. He looked forward to time at Georgetown Lake camping with his siblings, their families, and a game of horseshoes with his brother Joe. He passed this love of the outdoors on to his children as they would spend time camping and fishing at Copper Creek, Rock Creek and Georgetown Lake.
No one enters heaven alone, there is always someone to welcome you home. Ted joins his parents Joseph and Ann (Manion) Furshong, brothers Jim, Joe and Charlie Furshong; and sisters Delores Furshong and Jean Larson; brother-in-law, Jack Larson and sisters-in-law Doris Furshong and Jeri Blankenship, (father and mother-in-law) Laurence and Irma (Sansouci) Whelan, brothers-in-law, Patrick, Larry and Jack Whelan, Bob Olson, sisters-in-law Mary Lou Olson, Kathleen Janney, Jean Ellis and Barbara Whelan; God-daughter Rebecca Cerise; as well as numerous nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
TJ is survived by his wife Donna; daughter Peg Furshong and husband Steven Petrich of Sacred Heart, MN, sons Mike and Jack Furshong of Missoula, MT; grandchildren, Emma Furshong of Tucson, AZ, Amoreena, Jesse and Angelina Petrich of Sacred Heart, MN; in-laws, Bobbie Whelan, Betty (Charlie) Merrifield and Peggy (Jim) Maloney of Butte, Ed Janney of Deer Lodge, MT. Nephews Pat (Bobbie) Furshong of Spokane, WA, Joe (Anna) Furshong, Jim (Barbara) Furshong and Tim Furshong all of Helena, Colleen Loshesky, Jackie (Joe) Cerise of Anaconda and Collette (John) Hogenson of Billings; Ginny Kokorudz of Tucson, AZ, Charlotte (Forgeron) Hall of Vancouver BC, Zhen Cao of Missoula; God-children Kristin Smith of Flagstaff, AZ, Shannon Maloney Size of Missoula, Jennifer Luoma of Butte and Paul Furthmyre of Great Falls, MT as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Memorials may be made to The Poverello Center (PO Box 7644, Missoula, MT 59807), Missoula Food Bank (720 Wyoming Street, Missoula, MT 59801), Blessed Trinity Catholic Church (1475 Eaton St, Missoula, MT 59801), Anaconda Catholic Community (217 W Pennsylvania Ave, Anaconda, MT 59711), Anaconda Food Bank (PO Box 1280, Anaconda, MT 59711) or an organization of the donor's choice.
To view the slideshow click here.
Ted "TJ" Slideshow