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.