Jana Kristine Furlong

Jana Kristine Furlong

March 24, 1966 – August 30, 2021

Survived by husband, Kevin Furlong; daughter, Katelyn Furlong; son, Ryan Furlong; mother, Janet Smith; sister, Kimberley Castle (Jeff); brother, Steve Smith (Kathy); other relatives; other friends.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Saturday, Sept 4th from 5pm to 7pm at West Center Chapel.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the American Red Cross.

To view live broadcasts of the Celebration of Life Service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on our home page.


Jana Furlong was taken from earth much too soon on August 30, 2021, at age 55.  She was preceded in death, sadly by one day, by her father Rodney Smith.  She is survived by husband, Kevin; daughter, Katelyn; son, Ryan; mother, Janet Smith; sister, Kim Castle; and brother, Steve Smith. 

After growing up in northeastern Nebraska and graduating from Bancroft-Rosalie High School, Jana went on to college at UNL and then moved to Omaha, NE to find work.  At Marriott, she found both a career and a husband and they were married in Pender, NE in 1988. 

In 1989, Marriott asked the couple to open a call center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Together with over 20 of their closest friends and baby, Katie, they made the move.  Jana loved her SLC teams and they loved her, and her company recognized her with Manager of the Year in 1994.  Despite the wonderful friendships she cultivated in Utah, in 1995, it was time to move home to Nebraska.

Jana loved children and after leaving Marriott, the Furlong house was always full of children’s voices from throughout the neighborhood.  After Ryan came along, a dozen pairs of boy’s shoes at the front door was not an uncommon sight in her home.  She developed relationships with each kid that came into her home, learning their likes and dislikes and endeavoring to make our home a safe and happy place for our children’s friends.

Jana made a beautiful and loving home for her family and was at her happiest when she was hosting large family gatherings.  From Thanksgiving dinners to summer backyard barbecues, she was always planning some way to get the family together.  Jana loved her family and knew the importance of staying in touch, so she never stopped working on Furlong/Smith/Westerhold mini-reunions and was the life of the party at the huge Furlong Family Reunions.  In addition to hosting, Jana also loved to decorate, especially at Christmas. Holidays in her home were always something special.  Each fall, her house was known as the “Halloween House” in their neighborhood because of the ever-growing myriad of ghouls and goblins creeping their way through the Furlong front yard.

Marriott recognized her special gift for creating events and her company leveraged that love by making her responsible for planning awards parties and employee celebrations, from venues to menus.

When Jana wasn’t trying to find a way to create the next event, she was likely cooking in her kitchen.  Cooking was always a passion for her and she spent the isolation of the past year learning to master more difficult recipes and even developed a flair for Chinese dishes. 

In her younger years, Jana was an exceptional athlete, competing as part of both the track and volleyball teams in high school.  In 1990, she won the Salt Lake County Softball Batting Title with an exceptional .873 average and followed that up by finishing 2nd in 1991 and 1992.  With her husband, Kevin, she played on numerous volleyball teams, both sand and court, and through sports they built friendships that last to this day. 

Working in the hotel industry, Jana developed a love of travel.  Her adventures took her around the world to places like Chichén Itzá, Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, and the Cliffs of Moher.  She loved touring the European countryside with Kevin and could easily see herself  living in Germany.  Jana was in the midst of plans for a trip to see the pyramids in Egypt in September 2023, when she was taken too quickly from this world.

Those that knew her well knew that Jana was avid about her politics, believing that all people should enjoy the same benefits, period.  She worked actively for the Nebraska Democratic Party and even canvassed as a Precinct Captain in Iowa in tight elections.  Jana marched with her family in Pride parades, worked as an officer on Parent Teacher Organizations and passionately supported the causes she believed in. 

The myriad of friends she made throughout her life will always remember her infectious laugh and her ability to relate to anyone and everyone. 

She will also be remembered as a good wife, a loving mother, a trusted friend, a caring leader, and an unstoppable force during her time on earth.






  • Kent H. Theesen Posted August 31, 2021 12:23 pm

    Kevin and family, Peace to your family. Iwill always remember the days of Marriott at both Omaha and Salt Lake. Her smile lit up the room.

  • Ellen White Posted August 31, 2021 11:53 pm

    Kevin, I am sorry to hear of your loss. My mind go back to Marriott when I heard of her passing. Jana was always such a sweet and caring person. I know that she will be missed. May God bless and comfort you during this difficult time

  • Kimberly Duffy Posted September 1, 2021 4:06 pm

    Aunt Jana-
    You have always been a beautiful soul. Your laugh and caring nature shined so bright. My fondest memory, was when I stayed with you and the family over the summer in 2001. I absolutely loved talking to you, watching movies, going to see the houses you had listed, eating your delicious cooking, shopping and going roller skating. It truly was the best summer of my life. So much so, that when I had to leave and go back home I told my parents I wanted to move in with you. You were always the life of the Furlong Family Reunions! I absolutely loved sitting on the porch with you and hanging out, talking about life and the occasional debate. No amount of time is ever enough when we have someone as special as you in our lives. I love you beyond words could ever say and will always think back on all the fun times, laughter and love. Rest in peace beautiful Angel and please give Grandma and Grandpa our love!

  • Steve Smith Posted September 1, 2021 4:12 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute to my beautiful sister.

  • Jennifer Thompson-Kirlin Posted September 1, 2021 5:25 pm

    It is truly unbelievable that such a loving person is gone. Jana was a truly generous soul in every sense. She always had a smile, a kind word, and warm hospitality for everyone she met. I enjoyed our chats and the laughter she brought to my day. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to know her and her family. May her memory be a blessing upon the hearts of the Furlong and Smith families. Thank you Jana for sharing your amazing spirit, you are dearly missed.

  • Julie Yeshnowski Posted September 2, 2021 6:23 am

    Kevin and family, I am so sorry to hear of Jana’s passing. I have many fond memories of working with the two of you during your “Marriott years.” Jana always knew how to throw a great party! She was kind, friendly and SO much fun! The entire Smith and Furlongs families are in my prayers. With my deepest sympathies, Juli Yeshnowski

  • David Chestler Posted September 2, 2021 9:00 am

    Deepest condolences to the family, friends and community so impacted by Jana. May peace come to all those who mourn her passing. Her memory is a blessing…

  • Sharon Sing Posted September 2, 2021 9:36 am

    At Kevin and Jana’s wedding their officiant spoke of their meeting and falling in love while working at Marriott. He said their marriage represents what all marriages should be – hospitable – caring and loving each other, whether sunshine or rain. The traveler is weary and relies on the peace and rest found in hospitality. Jana’s heart and soul believed in this and she brought so much joy and happiness to her husband, family, friends and colleagues. She is still with us, in a different way, with a festive and bright spirit of hospitality that will carry on in all those she loves. God Bless You, Jana.

    • Gail Brondum Posted September 3, 2021 3:45 pm

      What a perfect tribute to my niece, Jana. Hospitality. This truly represents the spirit of Jana. Opening her heart and home to others to bring them joy and comfort. Thank you.

  • Uncle Bill and Aunt Shirley Posted September 2, 2021 10:58 am

    We loved “Kristy” so much. We always had the best time coming to your house for holidays. Kristy would always volunteer to host. She knew it would take the pressure off of Shirley so she didn’t feel like she had to have it. She had the best sense of humor and best laugh of anyone we can think of. If we ever felt “down” about anything….she could brighten our spirits.
    We didn’t get to see her much during the Covid times and missed see all of you. May God bless your family and help you heal in the days and months ahead. She will always be a part of us.

  • Crisdee Plambeck Posted September 3, 2021 4:14 pm

    So incredibly sorry for your loss. Thinking of you.

  • Brianna Peltz Posted September 4, 2021 3:11 pm

    She was the best person around, always had a smile on her face and was a blast at family reunions. She will be deeply and truly missed. Gone but not forgotten aunt Jana you will forever be in our hearts and minds. May you rest in peace as nd see you onthe other side. We love you!

  • Bruce Koborg Posted September 4, 2021 3:51 pm

    Jana (Vern) was a wonderful person. She always was welcoming and kind. I can’t imagine your family’s heartbreak now. May her memory be a blessing.

  • mike and Ellen Weitzel Posted September 4, 2021 7:59 pm

    Dear Kevin, our hearts are heavy that you have to say good bye to Jana today. She was so full of life and made me laugh probably every day when we worked together. We have great memories spending time with you both. May you and your children find strength and peace in this difficult time and cherish the happy memories you shared.

  • Julie N Hamik Posted September 5, 2021 12:38 pm

    Kevin, I was stunned when Marie told me about Jana. I am so sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace

    Julie (Formerly Johnson)

  • Helen Foster Posted September 6, 2021 5:09 pm

    Although we never met, Valerie spoke so highly about her that I really wanted to meet her. I am so very sorry for your loss . She sounds like someone who took great joy in all that she did. Heaven is blessed to have her as part of the angelic chorus. God bless you all.
    Cousin Helen Foster

  • Chris Adams Posted October 10, 2021 7:49 am

    Kevin, we were very sorry to hear about Jana. We didn’t work together too long at Marriott but certainly remember you both and in particular for me, Jana’s kindness and her laugh. She clearly was a special soul and someone I would have enjoyed knowing as an adult. Greg and I send our sincerest condolences to you and your children, as well as to all her family, friends and lives she touched.

  • Ann Wilson McGrath Posted April 3, 2022 12:26 am

    I am sorry to have not known about Vern!!!!
    Kevin…my prayers to you and your family!!

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