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Buffalo Township optometrist devoted his life to helping others

Whether it was in his occupation as an eye doctor, as a township supervisor or as a volunteer in community organizations, Dr. Cecil Furer spent much of his life helping others.

"He cared more about others than himself. That's the one thing I can always say about my Dad," his eldest son, Jason Furer, 37, of Freeport, said Sunday. "He always cared about others. He always cared about serving his community."

Dr. Cecil D. Furer of Buffalo Township died Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011, at Good Samaritan Hospice unit at Concordia at Cabot from stomach cancer. He was 63.

Dr. Furer was born in Natrona Heights and graduated from Freeport High School in 1966. He graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and received a doctorate from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1974.

Dr. Furer owned and operated the Eye Care Center in Freeport for 34 years, and had locations in Kiski, Kittanning and New Kensington. He served as president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association.

Jason Furer said he couldn't count how many mission trips his father made to places such as Haiti, Mexico and Guatemala, for which he collected glasses to distribute and where he did eye exams for the needy.

Dr. Furer served three six-year terms as a Buffalo Township supervisor, from 1980 to 1998. Jason Furer said his father was proud of his accomplishments in office, including the development of the Butler-Freeport Rails to Trails and getting public water service to the area.

Supervisor Al Roenigk, who started on the board six months before Dr. Furer in 1979, remembers Dr. Furer and his family working to clear the trail.

Opponents battled the trail with lawsuits.

"At that time, nobody really knew how it was going to turn out when it was in court," Roenigk said. "We were being personally sued. It would've been easy to give up, but he didn't."

Public water ran into opposition as well.

"He was not afraid to stick his neck out and do what he thought was right," Roenigk said. "It was always for the good of the township or whatever organization he was with."

Dr. Furer was a member of Trinity United Christian Church in Lower Burrell, where he served as an elder and was chairman of the building committee.

He was active in community organizations in Freeport including Kiwanis, Jaycees, youth football and boys basketball boosters. He also coached basketball and baseball and was a basketball referee.

Jason Furer said his father had an "amazing memory" and was able to recall details about the people he met. His family saw how many Dr. Furer had touched in the various phases of his life by the hundreds who came to visitation at the funeral home this weekend.

"It didn't matter if the person was the janitor or the CEO of a company. He treated everybody the same," Jason Furer said.

Dr. Furer's life revolved most around his family. He and his wife of 42 years, Janet T. Furer, loved to travel, seeing more than 40 countries. His six grandchildren were important to him, and Jason Furer said his Dad never missed one of their games or events.

"My dad was my best friend. He was always there for you," Jason Furer said.

In addition to his son, wife and grandchildren, Dr. Furer is survived by his mother, Mable I. Furer of Buffalo Township; two other sons, Michael Furer of Freeport and Gregory Furer of Buffalo Township; a daughter, Katie Kostelansky of Lower Burrell; and three sisters, Darlene Porter and Diane Lee, both of Buffalo Township, and Donna Essary of St. Louis.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. today at Trinity United Christian Church, 3400 Garvers Ferry Road, Lower Burrell. Burial will be at Freeport Cemetery.

Redmond Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

T he Valley News Dispatch will occasionally run obituary stories on notable local residents. They are news items and as such, no charge is applied. The subjects of these stories are solely the discretion of the editors.

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