Ferndale, MD – John N. “Jack” Furniss left this earth peacefully on February 27th, 2020 and was welcomed into the arms of our savior Jesus Christ. He was 88. Jack was preceded in death by his loving wife of 66 years, Donna Furniss. His children are, Nancy (Furniss) McNeal, Diane (Furniss) Taylor, Jeffrey Furniss and Scott Furniss. He had ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He had two siblings who also preceded him in death, William Furniss and Shirley Furniss both of Pittsburgh, PA. Jack and Donna were faithful attenders of St. John's Lutheran Church in Linthicum, Ferndale Methodist Church, and Trinity Assembly of God in Lutherville, and then finally later in life felt called to Church on the Rock in Brooklyn, MD. Throughout these years, Jack served as an elder, Bible study leader and mentor for men at work and in the community. Together they hosted couples Bible studies in their homes for decades. Many lives have been impacted and changed for eternity because of Jack’s boldness for Christ and willingness to pour himself into people’s lives, wherever they were. He worked for 47 years at Westinghouse as an aerospace designer/draftsman. Originally, he started in Pittsburgh, which was interrupted for three years of service in the US Air Force. He then spent most of his years at the BWI location.
Jack was the son of Ethel (Kohlhaas) Furniss and William Furniss, and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jack was the middle son of the other two children. He was a rather quiet and obedient young man. His parents were supportive, stern, and proper with regards to manners and hard work. They instilled in Jack a work ethic that would serve him well throughout his life.
Growing up Jack enjoyed singing. He sang in his local Lutheran church and in A Capella choir. In high school he was also a cheerleader. He would use his booming bass voice at St.John’s Lutheran choir and Trinity Assembly of God, including performing at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall over many years.
Some of Jack’s jobs during his high school years included being a land surveyor’s assistant and a caddie at a local golf course. Around that time, his brother asked him to go on a double-blind date. Lois and Bill Furniss helped him meet Donna Gibson, and soon they fell in love. Like his father and brother, he began working at Westinghouse in Pittsburgh and was called into selective service, whereupon he chose the Air Force. Jack married Donna in Pittsburgh on May 3, 1952, and Jack would eventually be stationed in Wichita, Kansas for close to three years, where they had the first child, Nancy. When Jack’s service time was completed, he was able to rejoin Westinghouse and was transferred to Baltimore’s new plant in Linthicum, Maryland. After a few years of renting apartments in the area, they purchased a brand-new home on Shipley Road in Linthicum, where they remained for 43 years.
At Westinghouse Jack was the go-to man for new, tough and detailed projects. During his time there he was part of several patents. Often, he worked on classified projects. Some highlights of his design work included various jet radars, electronic countermeasure pods, and a military tank radar. He worked on the lunar lens camera and satellite in the early 1960’s. He was the first draftsman to be trained on computer aided design programs at Westinghouse. Jack had a “never give up” attitude, coupled with the ability to fix or build almost anything. The family’s first color television and hi-fi stereo were ones he built from scratch.
Jack would say the most important event that ever happened to him was when Donna saw an opportunity to have her family return to her childhood church camp outside of Uniontown, called Jumonville. This proved to be a pivotal, life-changing event for the entire family. It was there where Jack was confronted with the reality of “being born again”, as Christ described to Nicodemus. This involved transforming the intellectual knowledge of faith in God to a commitment of life-changing faith — giving one’s life and submitting fully to Christ. This is what Jack and Donna’s legacy would be for the second half of their lives together.
Throughout these years, Jack would mentor young men in Bible studies and prayer. While hosting couples’ studies in their home, eventually, they felt God calling them to connect and serve more locally. They joined a new church serving many in need in Brooklyn, Maryland called Church on the Rock. They would often invite people to their house to stay, leaving their adult children sometimes concerned for their safety. Jack became an elder and spiritual mentor to countless people at work and was a leader in a local chapter of the Full Gospel Business Fellowship International. Many lives have been impacted and changed for eternity because of Jack’s boldness, commitment, and leadership for Christ.
Friends and family will be received on Saturday, March 7th, from 10am-11am at Pasadena Assembly of God, 206 Pleasantview Ave, Pasadena, MD 21122, (410) 647-2025. A Celebration of Life service will follow immediately from 11a-12n. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in honor of Jack Furniss to: Metro Maryland Youth For Christ, 8900 Belair Rd, Baltimore, MD 21236 -- or go online to give at https://www.mmyfc.org/donate/
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