Gerry Furney, who served as mayor for the Town of Port McNeill for 39 years, passed away early Monday morning.
Furney was 85 years old.
The news of Furney’s death is confirmed on the town’s Facebook page, saying Furney died while surrounded by his family.
In a statement, Port McNeill mayor Gaby Wickstrom said Furney was “a man larger than life, approachable and kind; a community leader. He was such an integral part of Port McNeill’s history, it’s hard to imagine him not seated at the coffee shop window, chatting and smiling at passers-by. Our hearts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Furney spent 46 years as an elected official in Port McNeill and became one of the longest-serving mayors in the country until he decided to retire in 2014.
Shirley Ackland took over the mayor’s seat after Furney’s departure and on Facebook Monday she said Port McNeill lost “a most-beloved” member of the community.
Premier John Horgan also paid tribute to Furney’s on Twitter, saying, “He was a local giant who will be much missed.”
Saddened to learn of Gerry Furney’s passing. He represented the town of Port McNeill on council for 46 years, 39 as Mayor. He was a local giant who will be much missed. We shared a birthday and Irish ancestry. My thoughts are with Caramel, James and Liza.
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) February 4, 2019