Philip Barrett Furnas

Furnas—Philip Barrett Furnas, 85, on August 29, 2023, after a long illness, in Baltimore, Md. Phil was born on November 12, 1937, the youngest of five children, to Paul Furnas and Elizabeth Ann (Betty) Walter in Media, Pa.

In 1959, Phil graduated with degrees in mathematics and architecture from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., where his father was the comptroller. Shortly after graduation, Phil was traveling with his parents in Europe, with plans to teach at a Friends school in Ramallah, Jordan, when he was struck by a bus in Switzerland. After his extended stay in a hospital in Bern, he returned stateside and attended Columbia University in New York City, receiving a master’s in architecture in 1967.

Phil started a family in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pa., with his first wife, Sarah, in the late 1960s. During this time, he practiced architecture at Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, and at Cope & Lippincott, leading firms that blended modernism, naturalism, and preservation. He renovated his home, an old Victorian twin, built an A-frame cabin in Chester County, Pa., for weekend retreats, and built outdoor play sculptures for the local elementary school. He loved art and the natural world and could be found happily lost in museums and in the woods and streams of central Pennsylvania.

Phil shared the second half of his life with his second wife, Carol Kulick Furnas. He and Carol spent seven years in Philadelphia to be close to his sons, Caleb and Barnaby, and their young children. They spent Phil’s last eight years in Baltimore so that he and Carol could be close to Carol’s son Nick Driban and their young family. Phil doted on his grandchildren, biked around town, and painted watercolors.

Phil was deeply involved in the Quaker religion and community throughout his life. Upon moving to a new city, Phil would join the local meeting. Over the years, he became an active member at Germantown Meeting in Philadelphia, State College (Pa.) Meeting, Central Philadelphia Meeting, and Homewood Meeting in Baltimore. Ever the optimist, Phil loved committees. Two of his recent favorites at Homewood Meeting were the Property Committee, where he organized and participated in improvement projects at the meetinghouse, and the Peace and Social Justice Committee, where he was a fierce advocate for equality and social justice.

For several years, he was the State College Meeting representative at the annual Friends Committee on National Legislation conference in Washington, D.C. Later, he joined the Fellowship of Quakers in the Arts (FQA) where he was responsible for overseeing art exhibits at the yearly meeting. He served as a member of the board of FQA, where he was instrumental in promoting the Quaker arts community, and was in charge of membership.

Phil enjoyed cooking, particularly when venturing into elaborate recipes. He was known for his apple pies, taking great pride in making the perfect crust from scratch. His spaghetti sauce was also the stuff of legend amongst his family.

Throughout his life, Phil was an active creator and appreciator of art. He particularly enjoyed painting and was skilled with both watercolors and acrylics. Many of his paintings and other artworks were inspired by his love of the outdoors. He was a prolific painter of the flora in Weikert, Pa., where he reveled in the natural beauty of his cottage along Penns Creek during the summer months.

Phil is survived by his wife, Carol Furnas; two children, Caleb Furnas and Barnaby Furnas; one stepchild, Nick Driban; and six grandchildren.

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