Rodney "Bud" L. Furan, 93, passed away peacefully in his sleep May 28, 2021, at his home at Oak Terrace Assisted Living in North Mankato, MN.
Rodney "Bud" Furan was the second of three sons, born September 7, 1927, in Tracy, MN to Leo Furan and Agnes (Bienapfl) Furan. After Leo’s early death, the family moved to Mankato where they lived with Rodney’s grandfather, Wenzel Bienapfl. The boys enjoyed climbing rocks in the nearby quarry and sneaking down to the Minnesota River to paddle and swim. Rodney was industrious from an early age and loved to tell stories about his paper route along Third Avenue and out on to “the prairie.” He also worked in the bean fields and at the presses for the local paper in high school. Gifted with a lovely singing voice, he was hired to sing jingles for the town radio stations. At home, he also liked sitting on the porch, singing with his mother.
From a very young age, Rodney wished to become an artist and in his early twenties he began his career. With the help of the G.I. Bill, he was admitted to the prestigious Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, California where he met his bride to be, Barbara Howell, who fortified him with cream cheese and olive sandwiches. The two supported each other through a life-time career of art.
Rodney and Barbara married in April of 1950 and began their greatest creative work together, producing a loving family. They had five children, four sons, Eric, Paul, Neil, Ron and one daughter, Ruth. Later in life, Rod’s nieces, Lori and Lisa effectively became like two additional daughters. Rodney loved nothing better than laughter in the home; family gatherings with bad jokes, good food and plenty of chocolate.
Rodney was honored to have served his country in the United States Army in the Military Police at the end of World War II in the Italian Campaign and Occupation. Later he returned to service during the Korean Conflict where he worked in Propaganda and Interrogation, designing and dropping pamphlets over enemy lines, and questioning prisoners.
Generally described as a commercial artist, Rodney worked in varied positions throughout his career. He worked in the aerospace industry for many years and was especially proud of his contributions towards such things as the moon landing and later the Mars rover. He also designed Superbowl rings for the Josten’s company. Rod was proud to have developed the first Commercial Art Program for the Mankato Area Vocational Technical Institute (South Central College). His retirement from the industry came after having been the lead illustrator at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he was part of the scientific research program working on such things as atomic accelerators. However, Rod never really retired. He produced a prolific amount of fine art as well as his efforts in the commercial industry. His wildlife and Western art paintings are widespread and loved by many. Those not fortunate enough to own one of his canvases may have held on to one of his original Christmas cards, carefully designed, printed and distributed each year.
When he was not working, Rodney enjoyed the out-of-doors, camping, canoeing and exploring. He loved and complained about yearly family vacations complete with leaky tents, burned food and vehicles that always seemed to break down in the middle of nowhere. In an effort to mentor his boys, he became and remained a Scout Master for the Boy Scouts of America for twenty years. His family will recall he enjoyed watching and discussing sports of all types, and was an avid, yet perpetually disappointed Minnesota Vikings fan. Rod’s love of music continued throughout his life, and he sang with the Riverblenders Barbershop Chorus, and loved to sing at church as well. He liked to listen to many types of music: from classical or opera, to Broadway show tunes, old fashioned polkas to music for brass marching bands. He will also be remembered for his warbling whistle that would fill the air when no other music was playing.
He is survived by his wife Barbara Furan of North Mankato; his sons, Eric Furan of Los Angeles, CA, Paul (Kathryn) Furan of Sunnyside, WA, daughter, Ruth (Melvin Hayner) Furan, son, Ronald (Mary) Furan of Albany, NY; and nieces Lori (Douglas) Schultz and Lisa Furan. Rodney’s surviving family also includes eleven grandchildren and many great grandchildren who all adored him.
Rodney was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Darrell (Marie) Furan, Gene Furan, son, Neil Furan; and son-in-law, Patrik (Eric Furan) Olson.
A Funeral Service will be held June 11, 2021 at 11 A.M. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in North Mankato; visitation will precede the service, starting at 9:45. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Mankato following the service.