Remembering John Furbee, the Heart of Desert Hot Springs - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

Remembering John Furbee, the Heart of Desert Hot Springs

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Desert Hot Springs, CA -

How do you say goodbye to a man who made living in Desert Hot Springs better? That's what the desert community is dealing with after the death of one of their brightest stars, John Furbee.

"Sad, very sad he was a great man, wonderful man he did everything for the community," says Chris Megalonakis. 

"He was one giant of a man in this city, to me he was our city," says Donna Poyuzina.

 "It's a huge loss to our community, when he became ill a year ago I don't think any of us thought he wouldn't be back," says Scott Matas the mayor of Desert Hot Springs.

The 87-year-old's hard may have been in Desert Hot Springs, but he was born in West Virginia. His son Schick says, Furbee grew up with nothing but learned the family business and became a pharmacist. He moved to Desert Hot Springs in 1967 where he also got into real estate and built over 400 homes. But he never forgot his roots, and he gave much of what he made away to charities for children. 

"You could go to John and say, 'Hey these are programs in our community,' and it was never a no ... if it had to do with youth, John was there," says Matas.

He donated the 12 acres of land where the Boys and Girls Club sits. 

"He was a key influential man that made made it possible, that made this building happen," says Rey Mancilla, the sports gym supervisor there. 

People who work there say he was always there for them with financial support, whether it be uniforms or basketballs and made a huge impact on many lives.  

"Thousands of thousands, there's kids that we know that graduated that probably wouldn't have made it but with his support and help they graduated and walked down the aisle and now some of them are lawyers and doctors," says Megalonakis.

The aquatic center that bears his name is built on that site too. Friends say he wanted everyone to enjoy swimming as much as he did. 

"He loved that pool, he gave a lot for that pool, he gave the land, he gave money, everything, it is truly my desire that in his honor that pool can be open all year round," says Poyuzina. 

People who live here say it's not goodbye. Furbee's bigger than life heart will always beat in this city. 

"This building is just going to be a great memory and great beacon, especially in Desert Hot Springs, a beacon of light ... he will be missed," says Mancilla.

"A beautiful man that we're going to remember in Desert Hot Springs for the rest of our lives," says Poyuzina.

Furbee's son Steven Schick says he died at his home on Wednesday night surrounded by his long time partner Margaret and the children they raised together. His son says he will be buried in West Virginia, to fulfill Furbee's wishes. But there is a memorial planned in the city, details to be determined. 

Poyuzina is asking residents of Desert Hot Springs to do a small act of kindness in Furbee's honor. 

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