Obituary: Furman South III / World War II veteran from Sewickley had deep appreciation of history

Nov. 26, 1921 - Jan. 18, 2014

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The children of Furman South III were regularly amused by their father's somewhat pessimistic sense of humor.

"We called him 'Chief Black Cloud,' " said Ann Malick, Mr. South's daughter, because he'd often call a game "over" after a few bad plays, she explained.

So when the family was at a Three Rivers Stadium for a football game on Dec. 23, 1972, and the Steelers were losing in the fourth quarter, he gathered everyone up, and they started leaving early.

"We were on the stairs and we heard this roar from the crowd," Mrs. Malick remembered with a chuckle.

They had of course just missed the Immaculate Reception by Franco Harris.

Mr. South of Sewickley died Saturday. He was 92.

A graduate of Central Catholic High School and Cornell University, Mr. South attended officer candidate school in Rhode Island and was shipped to Okinawa, Japan, where he was wounded during World War II.

"He did not like to talk about it," Mrs. Malick said of her father's time in the military. But his sense of military order earned him another nickname from his children: "The General."

"He said what was good for one was good for all six," she said, adding family vacations often meant a visit to a Civil War battlefield. "We all grew up with a love of history."

After his honorable discharge from the Army, Mr. South worked at Lava Crucible Refractories, the family company started by his father.

Mr. South was an avid athlete, and his daughter called him a "mover and a shaker" who counted a lot of professional athletes as friends.

"It was not unusual for us to come home and see guys like [former Steeler] Ernie Stautner or [Pirates announcer] Bob Prince playing ball in the yard," Mrs. Malick said.

Mr. South was a founding member of Three Rivers Rowing, and Mrs. Malick said even at the group's 50th reunion, he was still able to get into the rowing shell.

Mr. South also was a member of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association and belonged to the Sons of the American Revolution, the Duquesne Club, St. James Catholic Church of Sewickley and the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

A former mayor of Sewickley Heights, Mr. South served on the boards of the Pittsburgh Home Savings and Loan and St. Joseph's Hospital-Jefferson Health System.

Mr. South is survived by his wife, Joanne of Maryland, and five children: Herbert "Hank" of Sewickley, Ann Malick of Sewickley, Furman IV of Sewickley, Mary Gaab of Pittsburgh and Frank of Charleston, S.C. He was grandfather of 17 and great-grandfather of nine.

A Mass will be celebrated today at 10 a.m. in St. James Church in Sewickley. Interment will be in Sewickley Cemetery.


Kim Lyons: klyons@post-gazette.com, 412-264-1241 or on Twitter @SocialKimly.


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