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William "Laney" Furr '82 September 21, 2021 2:07 PM updated: September 21, 2021 2:16 PM

William Laney Furr
June 9, 1953 - September 1, 2021

William Laney Furr of Salem, OR, previously of Bryan, TX, passed away due to complications of surgery on September 1, 2021. He was 68 years old.

Laney was born in Oxford, MS on June 9, 1953. He was raised for most of his life in Bryan, TX where he graduated from Stephen F Austin High School in 1971. Laney completed his undergraduate degree in Music at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. A few years later, he continued his education at Texas A&M University where he earned his MBA in Finance. Soon after he graduated, Laney began his career with Eastman Kodak in Tulsa, OK.

Laney married Dana Arrington, of Rochester, NY in 1986 and they began life together in Columbia, SC, while both working for Kodak. Laney and Dana were married for seven years and remained close friends for the remainder of his life.

In Columbia, Laney continued to pursue his musical interests. He played trombone with the Palmetto Brass Quintet, the Columbia Brass Band, The Gene Dykes Band, and occasionally as a substitute with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. Laney was well-known in the SC music community and played various other musical gigs throughout the southeast.

Also, during his time in SC, Laney worked for the South Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation as business manager at Santee State Park. He felt this was a dream job, mixing business with the outdoors, however, the daily commute proved too overwhelming. Laney returned to his managerial and finance background when he was hired as a site manager for Pitney Bowes in Columbia. Laney was transferred to the San Francisco bay area 1992. Laney accepted the transfer with the understanding that he would ultimately be moved to the Pacific Northwest. When the transfer did not materialize, Laney resigned from Pitney Bowes and moved to Salem, Oregon. With no employment prospects, Laney felt that the right situation would come when he was settled in his beloved Pacific NW…and it did.

In Salem Laney volunteered at a youth shelter and eventually began work as a teacher of at-risk high school students. Laney thrived teaching young people and made lifelong friends with many of his students and other faculty. After several years, Laney began teaching business courses at Chemeketa Community College. He retired in 2018.

Laney took up fly fishing in Oregon which quickly became a great love. He also loved literature and grew an extensive personal library of books with a fair amount of signed first editions. He also loved hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and giving back to his community and friends through his generous philanthropies. Laney lived a full and colorful life and was well loved by all who knew him. A one-of-a kind personality, he will truly be missed by many friends, colleagues and students.

Laney is survived by 2 brothers, David Furr, of Salem, OR, and Paul Furr, of Denver, CO, Anne, his sister-in-law, Sarah and Luke, his niece and nephew, all of Salem, and many of his friends. He was predeceased by his parents, Lynne and Howard Furr.

A memorial service is still being planned; Interment will be at Ebenezer Methodist Church cemetery in Union county, MS.

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