Frederick William “Bill” Furcht, 89, died peacefully Oct. 30 at home in Mount Washington while napping in his favorite recliner.
Bill was born Dec. 30, 1929, in Mount Kisco, New York, son of Frederick Charles Furcht and Estelle Whigham Furcht. He received a Bachelor of Science in biology from University of New Mexico in 1951. He then completed a master’s degree in chemistry at New Mexico Highlands University in 1954. Bill married Jean Austin Spence June 9, 1956, and they were married for 61 years until Jean’s death in 2017. Jean and Bill lived on the West Coast, East Coast and in the South while Bill pursued his career and Jean raised their four children.
Bill worked as a biomedical researcher for Burroughs Wellcome Co. and then worked for 38 years at American Cyanamid Company until his retirement in 1993. Bill started as a paper chemicals salesman, took roles in product development and product management, and ended his career as director, corporate accounts. After retirement he and Jean traveled extensively through Europe, Australia, Africa and the Far East.
Besides leisure travel later in life, Bill had many hobbies and interests with which he filled his leisure hours in his younger years. From photography and developing his own film to building radios and other electronics from Heath Kits to camping and hiking to sailing and music to fixing whatever was broken around the house and caring for his yard, Bill had little time for sitting around.
An avid sailor starting in his childhood at his parents’ summer cottage at Wanaksink Lake near Rock Hill, New York, Bill enjoyed a lifelong passion for sailing with his family, friends and even corporate clients along the Hudson River, on Long Island Sound, on Mobile Bay, in the Gulf of Mexico, and among many islands of the Caribbean.
An avid organist starting in his early 20s, Bill loved playing his theater organs. Bill was self-taught and enjoyed hours of playing until his last days. He was a member of the American Theater Organ Society and the Garden State Theater Organ Society. At his and Jean’s annual Mount Washington Christmas cookie party and at countless Christmas gatherings prior, he played Christmas carols joyfully accompanied by family and friends.
Bill was predeceased by his wife, Jean, and sister Lois. He is survived by his sister Sally Trama and husband Tony of Lancaster, California. He is also survived by daughter Melinda Furcht of Washington, D.C.; son Peter Furcht of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and wife Diane Sweeney and children Tori, Ben and Lily; daughter Kathryn Furcht of Mount Washington; and son Tom Furcht and wife Lesliann Tomich Furcht and children Alex and Carl of Mount Washington. Bill is also survived by nieces, nephews and many grandnieces and -nephews, all of whom he cared for deeply.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mount Washington Church of Christ, Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and American Heart Association through Birches-Roy Funeral Home, 33 South St., Great Barrington, MA 01230, which is overseeing arrangements. Condolences may also be made online through birchesroyfuneralservices.com. A remembrance service will be held Saturday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m. at the Church of Christ, Mount Washington. A reception will be held afterward in the Mount Washington Town Hall located directly behind the church. All family and friends of Bill are welcome.