Cheryl Ann Furniss
October 1, 2020
Cheryl Furniss, 60 years old, died on September 23, 2020, at her home in Thompson Falls, Montana, after a courageous and brave fight in her 21 months-long battle with ALS. Her strong will to live, unwavering faith in God, and the love and prayers of family, friends, and supporters carried her through life. Yet, even throughout her struggle with ALS, she reached out to others affected by the horrendous disease in her parish and the ALS society by baking treats and giving hope during their prayer and gatherings.
Cheryl was born on August 27, 1960 in Renton, Washington, to John and Marcella Fleisher. The oldest of two children-her brother-Randy Fleisher of southern California. Cheryl was a Native American of the White Earth Nation and the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, where she spent many summers on the farm harvesting wild rice.
Known for her infectious smile, but extremely shy, she would light up any room when she entered. Yet, even as a child, she possessed that smile and tireless work ethic, retiring from the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino in the Southern California mountain community of Big Bear Lake. Throughout her life, she maintained a sweet and simple demeanor that won the trust and hearts of many, who even now are being changed by her witness with her constant nurturing of love and faith. Friends and family will never forget Cheryl's contagious smile and laughter.
After graduating from High School in Placentia, California, Cheryl went to work in downtown Los Angeles with AT&T, where she met her sweetheart, Detective Noel Furniss of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Being very patriotic, Cheryl and Noel were married on the Fourth of July, 1991.
Married for almost 30 years, Cheryl and Noel raised their two dear children: Lindsey and Dirk. Possessing a faithful servant's heart, Cheryl faithfully cared for her family and friends through delicious cooking and baking from scratch – including cake decorating, sewing, crafting, and gardening. A woman of deep religious faith who was the heart of the Furniss family. Cheryl shaped their spirituality by her tireless Christian example and through her various Catholic activities. With a profound love for the military and police, she held the family together during Noel's absence with numerous trips to the Iraq war. With a real zest for life, Cheryl loved to camp, boat, and RV, especially with her children, who were the light of her life!
Cheryl's love for her children was always present. From designing and sewing their Halloween costumes and Boy Scout patches to being the ever-present cheerleader at softball or baseball games, snowboarding, and dance recitals. Cheryl drove out of state numerous times to find just the right trinket for the gift shop she ran at the Historical Museum in Big Bear Lake, California. Everyone that knew Cheryl knew she was always on the go with her children, with the Church or the Historical Society. Cheryl's children always knew if they were at a function, mom would be there and would have baked a scrumptious desert if there was a potluck!
After the couple's retirement in 2014, they found their dream home in the frontier of Montana in March of 2019. With the house perched on the banks of the Clark Fork River, Cheryl loved to watch the river and the wild animals walk by. Cheryl adored nature and always had her five dogs following her every move.
Cheryl's surviving family members include her father, John Fleisher, and wife, Magie; her brother, Randy Fleisher, wife Suzanne Fleisher, and nephew, Shawn Fleisher; husband, Noel Furniss and children; Lindsey and Dirk Furniss, along with brother-in-law; Michael Furniss; and her beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Services for family and friends of Cheryl will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 10 with a Funeral Mass at St. Williams Catholic Church in Thompson Falls Montana, presided by Father Jeffrey Benusa. This will be followed with a graveside service and interment after the mass, at the Plains Cemetery, in Plains, Montana. Memorial donations can be made to the ALS Association at https://donate.als.org, which Cheryl and Noel have financially supported. Yet, beyond financial contributions, Cheryl always lived by the Golden Rule; treat others the way you would like to be treated by doing a loving act of kindness, make someone laugh, send a card, give a hug, or say "I love you" to your special friend in her memory.
The family is deeply grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers, and support in many heart-felt forms with too many people to name, but including her family, her military and police family, neighbors old and new, her nurses, and doctors. Cheryl will be interned along with her mother's ashes for all eternity and will be remembered as our Angel that lived, laughed, and loved.
Her husband, Noel Furniss, wrote this obituary in honor of his dearest love and wife. It is a tribute to her memory of being a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. Her memory will be carried on in the legacy of her soul, which is now in each of us, and in the hearts, she touched with her love.