It is with a heavy heart we share Furman Ray York’s death on April 23, 2023. Furman was the epitome of the phrase “he never met a stranger”. He was one of a kind, never to be duplicated. He had a spark for life that was contagious, always sharing stories and jokes.
Furman was born May 17, 1936 to very humble beginnings in the Appalachian Mountains of Clayton, Georgia to Julius and Margie Carnes York. With a baseball scholarship, and a lot of grit, he attended Mercer University pledging proudly to Sigma Nu Fraternity. He graduated in 1958 and became a teacher. While visiting his brother Rev. Clifford J. York and sister-in-law Janice Pugh York at First Baptist Church of Philadelphia he met Annabelle Marsh Clayton, whom he married in 1961. He furthered his education, earning a Masters Degree from West Chester State College, then began a doctoral program at Temple University. He was the founding principal at Octorara Middle School in Lancaster, PA. In 1969, he moved to Baltimore to join his brother’s company, Mass Media Ministries. Furman secured a position in 1986 as Executive Director of EcuFilms, the multimedia resources division of United Methodist Communications, located in Nashville, TN. Furman loved Nashville and its plethora of outdoor settings which engaged his passions of golfing, fishing, hunting, and just piddling in his yard.
Furman’s love of life and deep interest in learning continued to flourish during his retirement years and afforded him many adventures and deep dives into various projects, some of which landed him on Channel 5 news often! He rallied behind important social justice and human rights causes; and was always eager to help a friend, family member, even a stranger.
He loved his family deeply; his wife, Annabelle C. York, his daughters: Lisa A. York, Amy York Williamson (Kevin), and Kelly York Bulbulkaya (Ahmet) and his four “beautiful and smart” grandchildren, Eleanor Rae Williamson, Julia Lee Williamson, Larkin Hannah Bulbulkaya, and Clayton Mehmet Bulbulkaya. His family of nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors enriched his life tremendously.
We will miss him for all our days and cherish every minute we had with him. We are proud to be part of his legacy. A celebration of life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to one of his passions:
TN Wildlife Federation (tnwf.org)
Room in the Inn (roomintheinn.org)
Save Our Monarchs (saveourmonarchs.org)
Just Us at Oasis Center (oasiscenter.org -designate “Just Us” in the comments section)
In the comment section below, please share your favorite Furman story, and in his words, remember to “Have Fun”. *********
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