Anthony J. “Tony” Furnari Sr., a retired Baltimore Department of Public Works project manager and sports fan, died May 13 of sepsis at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The Carney resident was 90.
The son of Italian immigrant parents, Anthony Joseph Furnari was born in Baltimore and raised on Garrett Avenue. His father, Louis Furnari, was a stonemason, and his mother, Rose Bregulio, was a textile worker.
He was a 1949 graduate of the Polytechnic Institute, where he was an outstanding athlete. He played defensive end in football, wrestled, and was a member of the 1949 Maryland Scholastic Association championship team. “He also dabbled in amateur boxing, where he recorded one of the fastest knockouts in amateur history, 13 seconds,” according to a biographical profile written by his family.
Mr. Furnari began his college studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, but he dropped out and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was a private at the time of his discharge in 1954.
Mr. Furnari worked in construction, including a brief stint at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant, and as a driving instructor, where one of his students was future Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who in those days was known as “Little” Nancy D’Alesandro, according to the profile.
He was a graduate of Baltimore City Community College, from which he received an associate degree. In 1962, he went to work for the city Department of Public Works, rising to become project manager. He retired in 1992.
In addition to attending his children’s and grandchildren’s athletic events, he coached recreational sports through the Parkville Recreation Council and spent several years officiating as a member of the Maryland Wrestling Officials Association.
He was a longtime fan of the Baltimore Colts, Orioles and Ravens.
Mr. Furnari enjoyed Sunday gatherings with his family and spending time each summer with them for a week in Ocean City.
“I remember one occasion when he watched me argue a case before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals,” said Ms. Furnari, a Lake Evesham resident who is now family magistrate for the Circuit Court of Baltimore City. “At lunch afterward, he believed I nailed it. I was not so confident, but his excitement was a pleasure to watch.”
When Ms. Furnari became a family magistrate, her father continued attending some of her hearings. “He loved to give me his opinion of the case,” she said.
He was a longtime communicant of St. Isaac Jogues Roman Catholic Church, where because of the coronavirus pandemic, plans for a funeral Mass are incomplete.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Furnari is survived by his wife of 64 years, the former Dorothy Ursula “Dottie” Albers; three sons, Anthony J. Furnari Jr. of New York City, and Vincent P. Furnari and Joseph P. Furnari, both of Lutherville; two other daughters, Karen A. Sudbrook of Sparks and Joanne M. Furnari of Perry Hall; a sister, Mary Lober of Parkville; and 10 grandchildren.