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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Former Air University commander died this week

Here's the obituary in our paper today. Story coming.

FURLONG, Lt. Gen. Raymond Bernard, 83 of Montgomery, passed away at his home on September 28, 2009. He was born August 23, 1926, in Saint Mary's, Pennsylvania, the son of Raymond and Grace (Mulhern) (Trambley) Furlong. He graduated from St. Vincent's Preparatory School, Latrobe, PA. in 1944 and attended Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA. as part of the Navy V12 program.

While at Ursinus, he met his future wife, Dorothy Louise Derr. They were married on October 8, 1949 at St. Eleanor's Church in Collegeville, PA.

Through his career with the Air Force, Ray and Dot lived in the Philippines, Japan, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Germany, Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington D.C., Texas, and finally, Alabama. Furlong's last assignment was as Commander of Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

He earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Ursinus College, an M.B.A. from Harvard University, and a P.H.D.in Education from Auburn University.

Furlong also graduated from Squadron Officer School, U. S. Army Command and General Staff College, and National War College. He earned numerous decorations and service awards, including the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Air Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters.

After his retirement from the Air Force, Furlong served as the Headmaster of St. James School in Montgomery from 1983 -1998. As headmaster he undertook a significant building and renovation campaign that resulted in the expansion of the school at the current Vaughn Road location. Ray and Dot have many fond memories of their years at St. James School.

Furlong is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Dorothy Louise Derr Furlong; his sister, Julia Wade Atkinson (York, PA); his children: Michael and his wife, Claire (Trussville, AL); Judith and her husband William Bernier (Endwell, NY); Peter and his wife Donna (Kennewick, WA); Catherine and her spouse Larry Kahn (Vienna, VA); David and his wife Eme (Hyattsville, MD); Mark and his wife Ella (Tallassee, AL); Daniel and his wife Nita (Alabaster, AL); eighteen grandchildren: Megan (Leif) Graham; Theresa (Jed) Kennedy; Alycia and Jeremiah Furlong; Billy, Anne, John, Grace and Rose Bernier; Timothy and Raymond Furlong; Jonathon, Ruth and Timothy Furlong; Paul and Elizabeth Furlong; Russell and Ryan Furlong; and one great grandchild, Joshua Graham.

Visitation will be on September 30, 2009 from 5 PM – 7 PM at the Leak Memory Funeral Home, 945 Lincoln Rd., Montgomery, AL.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on October 1, 2009 at 2:00 PM at St. Peters Catholic Church, 219 Adams Ave, Montgomery. Rev. Patrick Driscoll, pastor and friend of the Furlong family will officiate. Burial will be at St. Margaret's Cemetery, Montgomery, immediately following the Mass. A reception will be held at St James, Leu Elementary following the burial for family, close friends and colleagues.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. James School, 6010 Vaughn Rd. Montgomery, AL 36116 or Hospice of Montgomery, 1111 Holloway Park, Montgomery, AL 36117-1902. Leak-Memory Chapel Directing www.leak-mc.com

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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