Leah Furnas passed away peacefully December 11, 2011, at the age of 78, in her daughter's home in Arizona, with all her loving children and grandchildren present. Her final resting place will be in Medford, Ore., where she spent most of her life.
Born to Louie and Julia (Mitchell) Peabody, Leah spent her first years in Trail, Ore., then graduated Medford High and earned a teaching degree at SOCE ("sock-ee") in Ashland, Ore. Leah's first career was in teaching, and she taught for many years at Sacred Heart. Her second career was in real estate. After she retired to Coos Bay, Ore., she became an avid writer of poetry and memoirs and an active participant in arts-related community organizations.
Leah's poem "The Longlyweds" was read by Garrison Keillor on his national radio show The Writers Almanac. Her autobiographical essays describe her parents making their way through the Great Depression at the At-Last-A-Lunch diner in Trail, her own post-war business venture in the Big Dog Hot Dog Stand in Medford, and her brief but formative stint as an actress working with Angus "Gus" Bowmer in Ashland, which culminated with her lead role as Irena in his production of "Idiot's Delight."
Leah was the loving and devoted wife of Horace Tomlin "Tom" Furnas for over 50 years until his death May 5, 2007. She is survived by the three children they raised in Medford, Laurie Rae Mazzotta, of Anthem, Ariz.; Norma Jean Waters, of Oro Valley, Ariz.; and Glen Tomlin Furnas, of Bellevue, Wash. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Kelsey Mazzotta Jourdan, Olivia Mazzotta, and Alexander Furnas.
A graveside memorial service will be held at Siskiyou Memorial Cemetery August 9, 2012, at 11:00 a.m., to celebrate Leah's life and commemorate her final return to Medford with Tom.