February 8, 2011

Man recalled as 'always thinking of someone else'

Paul Furbish recalled fondly

By Craig Crosby
Staff Writer

HALLOWELL -- Paul Furbush loved arguing with his wife, Marlene, about what they would do on their days off.

In the end, Paul was going to have his way ... he just had to talk to Marlene to find out what that way was.

"He always wanted to do what I wanted to do," Marlene recalled. "He'd say, 'The day is yours.' It had to be what I wanted.

"He was just so nice," she continued. "He was a sweet, kind man. He was always thinking of someone else."

A good husband, a good father and a good employee, Paul Furbush passed away Feb. 1 at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. Furbush, who died with his family by his side, was 73.

Paul left his Belgrade home in 1958 and spent eight of the next 10 years traveling the world with the Navy. He returned to Maine and held a few different jobs, including a stint taking care of properties for Leonard Nason.

One of Paul's jobs took him to an apartment being rented by Marlene, a single mother of two young boys.

Nason used to tell Marlene and Paul -- a single dad of two girls and two sons of his own -- they should get together.

"I remember that being very embarrassing, but it turns out my boys really liked him," Marlene said.

Paul and Marlene took the children along on their first date.

"That was January," Marlene said. "We were married that May."

All of a sudden, Marlene had a husband and her children had a dad.

"He never officially adopted them, but he's been dad all these years," Marlene said. "At one point, we had three boys in college at the same time. He never complained. He always bragged that they were all on their own. They made out well. He was proud of them all. He has six children who thought the world of him."

With his children out of the house, Paul turned all of his attention to Marlene. He retired six years ago and spent countless hours in his shop turning out all manner of wood crafts.

He was particularly known for his Adirondack chairs.

"I bought a chair from him. Just because it was a Paul Furbush chair, I wanted it," said Wendell Davidson, who for 20 years had Paul maintaining his properties. "It was a nice chair."

When Paul was not in the wood shop or remodeling the house he and Marlene bought, he could often be found cleaning and cooking to make sure everything was perfect for when Marlene got home from work.

Paul's was the last face Marlene would see when she left for work each morning and the first to greet her when she returned each night.

"He had dinner ready when I got home every night," Marlene said. "He'd go through my cookbooks and come up with some concoction.

"He was such a good man," Marlene continued. "He was so kind. He never said anything bad about anybody. He loved people."

That kindness is what Davidson first noticed when he would see Furbush around town. The two would often strike up a conversation while standing around watching their children play sports, Davidson said.

"That's how I got to know him," he said.

Davidson hired Furbush to tend to his properties and soon learned he could trust him with anything.

"He'd do anything he was asked with a smile," Davidson said. "He was good with people. In our business, we need to have employees that get along with people. He was always a guy you were happy to see coming."

Paul and Marlene, who is 15 years his junior, were making plans to travel when she retired in a few years. He couldn't wait to show her some of what he had seen while serving in the Navy.

But a few weeks ago, Paul developed a sore throat. Tests revealed he had cancer. His battle against the disease was as courageous as it was brief. Some of Paul's friends were not even aware he was sick, Marlene said.

"It was so quick," she said. "I don't even know where I've been for three weeks."

Davidson struggles for words to capture his friend and the void he has left behind.

"He'll be missed," Davidson said. "You're never going to move the world, but he fit very nicely into the world."

The Tribute is a regular feature of the Kennebec Journal in which friends, relatives and colleagues remember the life story of a departed member of our community. If you know someone who is worthy of a tribute, contact Staff Writer Craig Crosby.

Craig Crosby -- 621-5642

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