Joel's Story

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Joel R. Furman, 73, of 2196 Boyles Run Road, Sunbury, went home to Heaven on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the Atrium at the Village in State College, where he had been staying since February.

Joel Roger Furman was born May 21, 1943, in Point Township, Northumberland County, the second son of F. Foster and Hazel J. (Epler) Furman. After decades of membership at Trinity Lutheran Church in Point Township, he became a member of Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church in Sunbury. He was married to Margaret Louise Reid for 42 years, and after her death, to Barbara Elizabeth Steen for six years. He is also preceded in death by his brother, Franklin and his granddaughter, Sylvia Louise Margaret Paxton.

Joel was a proud Pineknotter, a 1961 graduate of Northumberland High School, and attended Philadelphia College of Bible (now Cairn University) for one year before transferring to Penn State University and graduating in 1966. At Penn State, he earned a degree in food science technology and was a member of the Alpha Zeta fraternity. He worked in sales for the family business, Furmano Foods, (formerly Furman Canning Company) until his retirement, eventually becoming senior director of foodservice corporate and group account sales. He traveled extensively throughout the United States, attending sales conventions and board meetings for national food groups, and enjoyed taking the family along whenever he could.

Vacations throughout the country usually centered around state and national parks, where Joel shared his love of nature and the outdoors with his family. He enjoyed walking and hiking, camping, and swimming. At home, he enjoyed deer hunting, gardening, and growing dwarf fruit trees and berry bushes, as well as culling the groundhog population. Joel was an enthusiastic Penn State football fan, and held season tickets for several decades, attending several Bowl Games.

He was a very involved father, attending hundreds of his children's sporting and academic events. After retirement, he enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports or perform at school events. He also enjoyed his winter home in Sarasota, Fla., and participated in many activities at Oakwood Manor. Joel taught Sunday school for many years, and was a faithful member of the Gideons, enjoying every opportunity to talk to people about the Gospel and how they could experience salvation.

Along with his wife Barbara, he is survived by four children, their spouses, and seven grandchildren: daughter Elisabeth Paxton, and her husband Eric and son William, of Powhatan, Va.; daughter Heather Palladino, and her husband Christopher and their children Isabella and Nicholas, of Penndel, Pa.; son Reid Furman (Lieutenant Colonel, US Army) and his wife Julia Furman (Major, US Army), and their children Margaret and Reid II, of Arlington, Va.; and by daughter Anne Furman (Major, PA Air National Guard) and her husband Russell Lamb, and their children Ava and Chandler, of Lewisburg, Pa. Joel is also survived by his sister Jane and her husband Frank Severn, of South Lyon, Mich.; sister Sara and her husband Andrew Cilderman, of Fair Lawn, NJ; and by his sister-in-law, Esther Furman, of Selinsgrove, Pa.

A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 5, 2017, at Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church, 967 Mile Hill Road, Sunbury, and from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, May 6, followed by a funeral service at 11 with the Rev. Frank Severn officiating.

Interment will be in Mountain Presbyterian Church Cemetery, 2478 Boyles Run Road, Sunbury.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Gideons International Processing Center, PO Box 97251, Washington, DC 20090-7251.

Funeral arrangements are by the Joseph Epler Funeral Home, 210 King Street, Northumberland.
Published on April 23, 2017
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