John and Shirley Furrer
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 12:53 p.m.
John (Jack) Henry and Shirley Eileen (Boyson) Furrer celebrated their 70th anniversary with a family party held at The Villa in Santa Rosa. Their son, John, said they were excellent role models who raised their children in a house filled with love. He thinks if you asked them if they could change anything in their lives, they would say, “Why change perfection?”
They met at a Young Ladies Institute dance. Although they each attended with a different date, there was a spark between them and shortly thereafter they began dating. Depending on which one you ask, their first date was either to see a movie or skating at a roller rink. They dated a year before deciding to get married.
Jack served in the Navy during World War II, mostly in Africa and Italy. Like many other wartime sweethearts, the couple wanted to get married before he was shipped out. Shirley rode the train from San Francisco to Oklahoma and they were married in Stillwater on Nov. 28, 1942, right after she arrived.
Their honeymoon dinner was tomato, lettuce and bacon sandwiches, but the cuisine hardly mattered to the happy newlyweds. The day after, Shirley returned to San Francisco and Jack was shipped out.
They’ve lived in San Francisco, Daly City, Petaluma and Santa Rosa. Jack worked for Pacific Telephone for 40 years, retiring as General Manager Switching North. Shirley was a housewife to their four children: Chirleen Michelini, Pamela Leach, John Furrer and Tom Furrer. They have seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
John is proud of the fact that his parents were very active in their children’s lives. For example, when John showed an interest in planes, Jack built plastic model airplanes and jets for him, which he hung from the ceiling. Later, when he and his brother showed an interest in baseball, Jack would hit fly balls to them. They thought he could hit a ball farther than any baseball player alive. Jack coached his children’s sporting teams during their younger years. He also loved to fish and taught his children “the right way” to fish. Shirley was a Cub Scout den mother who took her boys on special field trips.
Jack and Shirley are both avid football fans and have been 49er season ticket holders for many years.
In 1961, they bought a small cabin in Twain Harte, which became their second home. The family spent many memorable summers there. Jack continued to work during the week and spent weekends at the cabin until he retired in the ’80s. At that time, the cabin became more of their main home and they spent winters in Santa Rosa.
They have traveled extensively throughout European countries, England, Mexico and Ireland. They’ve also visited about every state in the U.S. by motor home and have taken trips to Alaska and Hawaii as well.
Shirley’s advice for a long and happy marriage is: “Always treat your spouse as you want to be treated,” and Jack’s advice is to always answer, “You’re right, Dear,” or “Yes, Dear.”
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