Noel D. Furlong, 84, was called home Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2011 to be with his beloved wife Louise after a sudden illness. He was born February 14, 1927 and He was born the eighth of ten children to Ina (Keith) and Edward Furlong in Chester, MT. Noel left for the Army the day after his May 24, 1945 high school graduation. He was the fifth and youngest brother to serve during World War II. Except for his military service in Nuremburg, Germany as a T-5 he was a lifelong Montana resident.
Education was highly valued; Noel felt the G.I. Bill was government getting it right. He graduated from the University of Montana in 1951, was married June 7 of that year to Louise Franz, a fellow UM graduate, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Kalispell. They taught in Alberton, MT for three years, before Noel was hired at Flathead County High School in 1954 where he taught American History, Journalism, Economics, and Drivers’ training for the next 34 years. He also was the faculty ticket taker at the NW student door of the gym, the student gate at Rawson Field, and after his 1987 retirement as Department Chair he sold tickets in the gym lobby. As a member of the Montana Education Association, he served locally, regionally and was the state President from 1973-1974, and was a delegate to the NEA Constitutional Convention of 1972. In many cases, he educated three generations of families in the valley.
Noel also served on the Kalispell City Council and was a delegate to the Montana Constitutional Convention in 1972. Other organizations included the Elks and the Montana Retired Teachers Association. Noel continued his service as an educator by providing 55 Alive classes. Upon retirement, Noel and Louise enjoyed traveling to visit their children and grandchildren.
Noel worked long and hard hours, all in the pursuit of providing for his loved ones. At the end of every day, family was most important to Noel. He was preceded in death by infant daughter Susan Marie, his wife Louise, his parents and his nine siblings. Noel is survived a by his five children: Laurie Schmidt of Chadron, NE; Mark Furlong (Terri) of Columbia Falls; Brian Furlong (Sharon) of Auburn, CA; Judy Buckmaster (Neil) of Bellevue, WA; and Michael Furlong (Terri) of Wilmington, MA; 13 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.
Services for Noel will be held on Thursday February 17, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Flathead High School, Noel Furlong Memorial Fund, 644 4th Ave. W., Kalispell, MT 59901 or Flathead Valley Veterans’ Memorial, 241 Main Street, Kalispell, MT 59901.
Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home is caring for Noel’s family.