Former Lima resident Jim Furlong loves sports.
That’s worked out to be a good thing for him because it has taught him how to keep a scorecard. And when holidays such as Thanksgiving roll around, it’s a skill much needed.
Furlong, 83, and his wife Donna are the parents of 10 children, 22 grandchildren and six great-grand children.
“Some of the grand kids now have significant others, so there will be some weddings and the numbers will grow,” Furlong said.
Their life has been one right out of the 1960’s television show “The Brady Bunch.”
Furlong had six children and Donna had four when they were married in 1984.
“Her husband had passed away and I was single … we just hit it off,” Furlong said. “One year we had seven in college at the same time. We both had good jobs, so that helped. But we didn’t belong to a country club, or own a boat, or do anything like that while the kids were in college.”
The oldest of the three boys and seven girls is now 60. The youngest is 53. Donna has a daughter and son-in-law still living in Lima, Becky and Steve MacDonald.
“I like to tell people we were on Catholic planned parenthood — one child every year,” Furlong joked.
When Jim and Donna gather at his daughter’s home in Ann Arbor this weekend to carve the turkey, pass the sweet potatoes and enjoy some pumpkin pie, they will be surrounded by more than 40 family members.
“Three of my biological kids live in Ann Arbor. I have one coming in from Denver, another from Melbourne, Florida, and one from Las Vegas, so all six of my biological kids are getting together on Friday,” Furlong said.
It will be a full house, with more than 40 family member attending, the former Lima resident said. Jim will be easy to spot though.
“I’ll be be wearing an Ohio State shirt while I’m in Ann Arbor,” he says.
This is one of the favorite times of year for Furlong. Not only is it the weekend of the Ohio State-Michigan football game, but the basketball season is starting. His love for basketball comes naturally. His father was a basketball coach in Milan, Ohio, before moving to Lima. Jim was a member of the last St. Rose High School basketball team in 1956. He was briefly a member of the Marquette University team.
A claim to fame now is that he’s attended more than 60 state final high school basketball tournaments.
“My brothers, Terry and Danny, and my son Tim and two grandsons go every year. It’s a tradition passed on by my dad,” he said. “Being a Bob Seggerson fan, I was always interested in Lima Central Catholic and was really excited when they won the state championship. Delphos St. John’s also had a lot of good teams. As far as individual players, there were many great ones, but Jerry Lucas was the best.”
Furlong worked in construction and development in Lima and Donna was a nurse at St. Rita’s Medical Center for nearly 40 years. They retired in 2000, and in 2001 moved to a home on Coldwater Lake in Michigan. That’s when Donna noticed a property for sale on the lake next door to the Senior Center.
“She thought that would be a great place to build apartments,” Furlong said.
The next thing he knew he was un-retired.
They built a complex that eventually included 30 one- and two-bedroom apartments for people who weren’t ready for assisted living, but were ready to downsize. They owned the popular Burns Park for 18 years before selling it in June.
“I didn’t really want to get back into it, but it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” Furlong said. “Building it, managing it and meeting all the people is probably what has kept me alive.”
ROSES AND THORNS: The rose garden has more from the “Brady Bunch.”
Rose: To Jane and Herbert Grismore of Bluffton, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Dec. 5. At the time of their marriage, she was a widow with three teenage children and he was a widower with three teenage children.
Rose: To Miracle Manuel and William Elrod, students at Lima Senior High School. After spending a decade in foster care, Manuel started a catering business with the idea of donating a portion of her proceeds to local foster kids. One of her first donations went to Elrod, who then donated the $500 to the school’s early childhood education vocational program.
Rose: Deyonka Hickey, a former Lima resident, was featured in the Nov. 15th issue of People magazine. She told the story of paying her heating bill and not having any money left for groceries. Being a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, she went to a veteran’s food pantry in Lima but felt humiliated to go inside. She finally was coaxed inside and told to take what she needed. Hickey has since moved to Cabot, Arkansas, where she runs a veteran’s food pantry.
Rose: To Tim Stanford, who was named Realtor of the Year by the West Central Association of Realtors. Stanford has been in the real estate business for 35 years and currently is with Superior PLUS Realtors.
Rose: Grube Inc., which began in May of 2001 with the Lima location of Buffalo Wild Wings, was named the 2021 Franchise of the Year at the Buffalo Wild Wings Conference in Las Vegas. Since opening the Lima location, owner Steve Grube, of Defiance, has grown the company to 38 locations in five five states. Twenty four of those locations are in Ohio with the others in West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland. Grube Inc. employs more than 1,600 and also owns and operates the Rusty Taco restaurant in Maumee, Ohio.
Rose: Whirlpool announces a $65 million investment in its Ottawa plant that will bring 100 new jobs to Putnam County’s largest employer.
Thorn: When Vyctoria Walters told Allen County judge Jeffrey Reed prior to her sentencing that her legal journey has been “one big learning experience for me … but what ya gonna do,” Reed answered her with a sentence of two years in prison.
PARTING SHOT: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.