Alma Marie Lawless Furman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 18, 1919. She was the daughter of Edward Joseph and Albertina Riva Lawless, and the sister of Edward John and John Riva Lawless.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 42 years, Alester Garden Furman. They met and married while she was working at the Skulkill Arsenal in Philadelphia near the beginning of WW II. After he served in Europe, Japan and Korea, and she took care of family, they relocated to Greenville, South Carolina, in 1957. She died in High Point, NC with family surrounding her on November 14, 2018.
Alma is survived by her children James Furman (Betsy) of Greensboro, North Carolina; Joan Furman of Nashville, Tennessee, and John Furman (Martha) of Salem, Virginia. Her grandchildren are Teresa Lamothe (Robert), Angela Murray (Lee), James Furman, Jr. (Karen), Allison Strafaci (Peter), all of Greensboro; Erin Hollander (Nattan) of Los Angeles, California, Sarah Seaborg of Nashville, Tennessee, Daniel Seaborg of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jennifer Furman of Richmond, Virginia, Riva Cain (Brooks) of Nagoya, Japan. She is also survived by great grandchildren Liam, Simone, and Aiden Lamothe; Will Furman; Brendan, Julia, Sadie, and Everett Murray; Giuseppe, Giovanni, Salvatore, Corabella, and Vincenzo Strafaci all of Greensboro, North Carolina; Alma Hollander of Los Angeles, California; David Gradwell of Richmond, Virginia; Quinn, Marley, and John Cain of Nagoya, Japan. She was preceded in death by great-grandchildren Sam Furman and Andrew Murray.
When asked how she would like to be remembered, Alma said, “Tell them how much I love music.” She was a talented musician who studied piano and harp at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia following graduation from Simon Gratz High School. She was active in the Greenville Symphony Guild and could name any piece of classical music and continued playing well into her 90’s. She was 1992 Woman of the Year for St. Mary’s Women’s Club, and she was a supporter and fan of the Greenville Zoo. She had a curious spirit, whether it was traveling to new places with First Baptist Church WEGO group, or St. Mary’s trip to Rome, or other trips with family, attending retreats, taking classes or reading the newspaper cover to cover daily. After moving to High Point in 2013, Alma enjoyed being close to family, volunteer projects for the homeless, and had fun “horse racing” and working jigsaw puzzles with friends and family at The Stratford.
But if you asked her, she would say that family was the most important thing to her. She loved being a mother, aunt, cousin, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend.
To friends and family, Alma Furman was a force of life, and this world will never be the same without her. Above all, she will be remembered for the way she made us laugh, the huge Thanksgiving and Easter family gatherings, and the beautiful way she saw the world. She loved feeding birds and turtles, even squirrels. When the sun set at the end of a day on the beach, she called it “the greatest show on earth.” On November 14, 2018 heaven gained a good soul, and a wonderful, loving, talented, and funny woman. We will always remember her.
Her Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held on her 100th birthday, January 18, 2019 at 12:00 noon at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 338 West Washington Street Greenville, South Carolina 29601. She had been a devoted member of St. Mary’s since 1957.
A reception hosted by the St. Mary’s Women’s Club will follow the service. It will be held at Downtown Presbyterian Church (across the street from St. Mary’s), 435 West Washington Street, Greenville, South Carolina 29601.
Interment of ashes will be held following the reception in Woodlawn Memorial Park at 3:30 p.m., 1901 Wade Hampton Boulevard, Greenville, South Carolina 29615.
The Furman family is grateful for the deep love and support of family and friends. Thank you also to the St. Mary’s Women’s Club. Alma would have been thrilled to celebrate her 100th birthday with all who will be present.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Greenville Symphony, www.greenvillesymphony.org or Greenville Symphony, 200 South Main Street, Greenville, SC 29601; or to Camp Braveheart: A Grief Camp for Children and Teens, www.campbraveheart.com or Camp Braveheart, 2977 Golf Colony Drive, Salem, VA 24153.
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