James Franklin Furnish


Sept. 8, 1950 — Jan. 30, 2021

James “Jim” Franklin Furnish passed from this world on Jan. 30, 2021, in Gearhart, surrounded by family.

He was born in Portland on Sept. 8, 1950, and came to the North Coast when the family moved permanently to Gearhart in 1959.

A bright and eloquent raconteur, he became an encyclopedia of North Coast history and knew stories he was happy to share with anyone interested. Many people did listen, and knew they were hearing or reading the real stuff.

Jim graduated from Seaside High School in 1968 and went on to work as a commercial fisherman and clammer extraordinaire; he herded cattle and sheep on the family ranch outside of Pilot Rock and worked as a drug and alcohol counselor in Astoria, something he was proud of.

Perhaps his favorite job, after fishing, was the years he spent as a fixture at Bell Buoy in Seaside.

He is survived by his children, James and Hylah Furnish, who were born in Astoria; his granddaughter, Emelia; his brother, Jeff; his sisters, Myra Lee and Laura Furnish Stewart; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins all over the world. He is also survived by a legion of friends and compadres, some of whom called him “Mr. Gearhart,” and will continue do so.

A public celebration of Jim’s life will be held as the coronavirus pandemic and weather allow.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society or an account being created at U.S. Bank to fund a Jim Furnish memorial bench in Gearhart. You can also donate to the North Coast Land Conservancy or a charity of your choice.

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Sharon Johnson

He was a couple grades ahead of me at Seaside High but l didn't really get to know him until he and my cousin Karen Drummond lived together. I ran into him a lot at Safeway in the last couple years, the last time being a couple months ago. Godspeed on your journey, Jim, we will all be joining you sooner or later!

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