August 18, 2018

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"Good, kind, generous man" dies in Alonsa tornado: grandson

Kelly Brown holds a photo of himself with his grandparents outside of his grandfathers former home. Seventy-seven-year-old Jack Furrie (left) was killed in a tornado on Friday evening.

MELISSA VERGE/THE BRANDON SUN

Kelly Brown holds a photo of himself with his grandparents outside of his grandfathers former home. Seventy-seven-year-old Jack Furrie (left) was killed in a tornado on Friday evening.

ALONSA- Seventy-seven-year-old Jack Furrie, who died in the tornado just outside of Alonsa on Friday evening, is described by his grandson Kelly Brown as "a good, kind, smart, funny generous man."

"He lived a good life and he was well liked," Brown said. "He'll be missed."

Furrie's house was destroyed in the tornado. There was nothing left on Saturday afternoon but the foundation.

"It's unrecognizable. it doesn't even look like the place I grew up," said Brown, who was raised by his grandparents.

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ALONSA- Seventy-seven-year-old Jack Furrie, who died in the tornado just outside of Alonsa on Friday evening, is described by his grandson Kelly Brown as "a good, kind, smart, funny generous man."

"He lived a good life and he was well liked," Brown said. "He'll be missed."

Furrie's house was destroyed in the tornado. There was nothing left on Saturday afternoon but the foundation.

"It's unrecognizable. it doesn't even look like the place I grew up," said Brown, who was raised by his grandparents.

Furrie's house was the only one at the end of a gravel road just off Bluff Creek Road, but was one of many that were destroyed in the tornado Friday.

His grandfather had dedicated his life to working as a teacher in Sandy Bay, Brown said, working for more than 25 years in the profession. 

Even after he had retired, Furrie would return to help out at the school, said Valerie McInnes, one of his former co-workers.

"Jack was very dedicated to his job, he loved teaching," McInnes said. "He even came back after retirement to help out, he was just a really hard-working man."

"Mr. Furrie, the kids respected him and listened to him a lot because he just had that way with them." 

Furrie had lived alone with his dog Brandy since his wife died eight years ago, Brown said. 

Brandy survived the tornado, and sat curled up in the back of a truck on Saturday afternoon.

The house was gone, and trees that had been uprooted by the tornado lay in piles around the property.

"I don't know. Like where do you start? What do you do?" Brown said. "There's nothing to rebuild, there's nothing to salvage. It's just a complete and utter write off of an entire property in probably 30 seconds."

Before it was destroyed the house was quite beautiful, Brown said, with a garden, trees, and lots of ornaments.

"Now it's just a pile of rubble," he said.

A photo of the tornado taken from a farmyard about 12 kilometres (8 miles) south of Silver Ridge, Man., looking north. (Clint Robertson photo / Winnipeg Free Press)<br>

Meantime, meteorologist Brad Vrolijk said a three-person team from Environment Canada went to the area Saturday to survey the storm damage, and determine the twister's path, size and wind speed.

"There are indications that the winds were very strong, but it's going to take several days to just comb through all of that evidence they gathered and determine just how strong this tornado was," he said.

Several homes and cottages were swept off their foundations and a number of vehicles were also blown around by the tornado.

"There is certainly vehicles extensively damaged, some rolled," Vrolijk said. "There was a truck that was thrown into a lake, there's several trailers that have been destroyed."

Vrolijk said another indication of the ferocity of the twister is the trees, some left completely bare of leaves and bark.

The width of the twister's path hasn't been determined yet, but according to Vrolijk the investigators said that at one point it seemed to be about 800 metres, and that it was likely on the ground for at least 20 minutes before heading over Lake Manitoba.

The area was pounded by more severe thunderstorms on Saturday, and Vrolijk said that at one point the survey team had to take cover as golf ball-sized hail pelted down.

— with files from The Canadian Press

mverge@brandonsun.com
Twitter: @Melverge5


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History

Updated on Sunday, August 5, 2018 at 9:14 AM CDT: Adds video, slideshow

10:23 AM: Adds files from The Canadian Press

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