Thomas “ Tom” J. Furlong
June 6, 1935 – July 1, 1979
Although Thomas was born in St Paul Minn, the East Bay became his turf. It was here where he was a star high school athlete excelling in both baseball and football. This is also where he worked and where he raised his five children. Tom died at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland this past Sunday July 1, 1979. He was just 44.
Tom an alumnus of St Elizabeth’s High School in Oakland, was an Oakland Tribune employee for close to 25 years. He started in the Tribunes Transportation department and was transferred to home delivery division and ultimately became a district manager. Operating mostly out of Albany and El Cerrito, Tom became one of the most popular district advisers among all Tribune carriers. He won many awards for sales, service and leadership. He was a loyal member of the Teamsters Union Local 96 .
Tom attended the University of San Francisco and Cal State majoring in political science and history. His wife Elizabeth Furlong also works as district manager trainee at the Tribune.
Special Memory; I remember a time when Tom and I both worked in Northern zone. Back then each zone at the Tribune would often challenge each other in a game of Basketball. Usually we had a gym already reserved. When our team from Northern zone showed up to play there was just 5 of us against Eastern Zone who had about 12 players. Now if you now anything about basketball being played at full court it is as physically demanding as running a marathon , especially for a bunch of out shape guys like us. The boys from Eastern zone ran us to death. Every time they had tired players they would just substitute for them with fresh players. We had nobody! At half time as we were sucking oxygen, Tom said he had a plan. Tom said put me in the game! Now if you are not aware Tom suffered from acute arthritis and just walking at times was difficult. This is where I first saw Toms competitive spirit. He simply put himself under the opposing teams basket and when we all would have to run down the court to defend our basket Tom would just stay at the other end. Not much attention was made of Tom standing down there waving his arms until four or five of our inbound passes in a row went his way for uncontested baskets. The other team finally had to keep a guy back which made our efforts to defend much more workable. We made a great run and we had a great time.
Did we win the game?...Nope we got killed anyway! Good memories and a good man.