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Michael Furtak

12/31/2017


Michael James Furtak, age 32, of Dover Delaware and formerly of Wayne, passed away on Sunday, December 31, 2017. His beloved wife, mother and sister lovingly stayed by his side at the time of his passing.

Born in Hackensack, the middle child of Walter and Gale Furtak, Mike’s father was in the Air Force so the family moved around a bit but, for the most part, Michael was raised in Wayne. He attended Wayne Public Schools and graduated from Wayne Hills High School with the Class of 2004 where he played on the school’s traveling basketball team.

Like any kid from his era, some of Mike’s favorite pastimes included constructing Lego creations and doing anything that had to do with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was also a great lover of music possessing a huge CD collection of hip hop and old school rap, and he found his joy in being outdoors, especially near the ocean’s shore, taking in the sun and the surf. It stands to reason that he loved surfing and golfing to unwind with his friends. After high school, Michael chose to go to Wesley College in Dover Delaware. He chose the school because it was small and close enough to home.

While attending college, Michael got a job working at The Children’s Place – an American specialty retailer of children’s apparel with locations in malls all over the U.S. He worked his way up to Assistant Manager of one of their stores. It was there in 2007 that he first met Brianne Morkert, a fresh-faced nineteen year old who was brought on as temporary help during the Christmas holiday rush. Those who had seniority over Michael quickly recognized that he had a gift for increasing store sales and managing people. Consequently, the company transferred Michael from store location to store location to boost their sales numbers. For some reason, whenever this happened, Michael would always ask that Brianne, whose status with the company had moved from temporary to permanent, be transferred with him. This was a bit surprising because they seemed to have a sort-of teasing, pokey, tit-for-tat relationship. Over time, Brianne continued to move up the ladder with The Children’s Place and Mike moved on to go work for Aeropastale. Consequently, they lost touch with each other for a while but, as fate would have it, their paths would cross again in a most interesting way. In 2012, Brianne was working in one of the top grossing stores for The Children’s Place but, when the store’s lease ran out the mall didn’t want to renew it. It was looking like Brianne was going to lose her job. Luckily, the district manager for Aeropastale was aware of her store’s closing and he approached Brianne to see if she would want to interview for a job with Aeropastale. Needless to say, she aced the interview and got hired. Now the interesting part! Little did Brianne know, but Michael caught wind through inter-company memos, that Brianne was joining Aeropastale. He immediately requested that she come work at his store in the Queenstown Premium Outlets in Queenstown, Maryland. They were both dating others at the time but they messed with each other somewhat flirtatiously which drove Brianne nuts but she knew Mike was important by the way he’d put down his front and let the real him shine through.

In the spring of 2014, Mike received his diagnosis of cancer – melanoma…..just a tiny little spot on his ankle. Treatments began but Mike always downplayed the seriousness of his situation. Summer was coming and it was time for one of his most celebrated annual events – attending the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE. Mike loved music, especially live music, so going became a tradition. It had never been tradition for Brianne to go, but this year, she went too. A week later, the two of them went to a party and that was it! Messing with each other flirtatiously finally took a bow to all out love. They settled into a pretty comfortable relationship in which being together was the most important thing. Consequently, a late night was a great night doing something together as simple as watching Hey Arnold or Rug Rats at midnight. A short time later, while out bowling one evening with family and friends, Michael felt moved to share his heart with Brianne declaring “I hope you don’t mind but I think I’m going to be with you for the rest of my life.” Brianne remembered feeling so loved! Then, in the spring of 2015, Mike had to undergo exploratory surgery because that tiny bit of cancer on his toe had metastasized to his lung. Finding out the devastating news that it was inoperable, Mike found himself trying to convince Brianne to move on with her life without him. She’d wouldn’t hear it, telling him to be quiet and assuring him that it would be fine. Later that summer, they attended Firefly 2015 and, while the song “Shut Up and Dance with Me” by Walk the Moon was playing, Mike felt moved to propose marriage by the simple act of slipping an engagement ring on Brianne’s finger. On July 29, 2017, they married in Washington State with the Puget Sound in plain view because Mike always loved that beach, ocean, sun and surf. The location was near Brianne’s side of the family and it was a beautiful, warm day despite the area’s reputation for unpleasant weather.

Mike was such a gifted retail manager. He just possessed the perfect temperament, personality, and attitude to be successful. His great personality enabled him to make his customers feel helped yet not pushed to purchase and his mostly young employees to feel valued and inspired. Often showing up to work in jeans with holes, his Firefly baseball cap and flip-flops, he was very approachable, always trying to foster a sense of family with his employees while inspiring them to work hard to succeed. As a result, many of those young employees affectionately referred to Mike as “Work Dad.” Brianne described Mike as the ultimate “man-boy” who was able to function in an adult world with the heart of a kid. It was that man-boyishness that was the key to Mike’s success, enabling him to turn dysfunctional stores into great money makers.

The man-boy persona was not something that Mike turned on for work and turned off when he got home. He was always that way because that’s just who he was – a roll-with-it kinda guy who thought more about the simple things of life and just loving people. Consequently, wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed wear, watching Rug Rats, or getting together with his buddies to sing old school rap and hip hop (amazingly, they knew all the words) was normal for Michael, even to the end of his life. When his sweet little baby girl Siddalee “Sidda” was born, Mike was ecstatic! She became his ultimate play-mate and it was natural for him to share many of these simple pursuits with her too. He always wanted to be the one to put her toys or any baby furniture together for her, and his sensitive nature was magnified with the arrival of his little bundle of love. Brianne will always have fond memories of how Mike tried to change Sidda’s first diaper in the hospital as quietly as he could so as not to disturb Brianne’s sleep. But Mike generally loved all people and was sensitive to their needs, thinking nothing of taking in a stray friend to crash on his couch for as long as needed. And next to that couch was an end table with a drawer filled with an arsenal of Reese’s Pieces, assorted chips, Coke and any other junk food you could imagine. He was a great father and a great husband who would come home from work after a two-hour commute and start cleaning the house and doing laundry. No one is perfect but Michael’s family thought he could do no wrong often lightheartedly referring to him as “St. Michael.”

Michael leaves behind his beloved wife Brianne (Morkert); his adorable daughter Siddalee; his loving parents: Walter and Gale (Bartlo) Furtak of Wayne; his two much-loved siblings: Devon Buck and husband David of Florida, and Robert Furtak and fiancé Jessica Gilrain of Clayton, New York; his cherished grandmother Frieda Spinelli of Florida, and cherished grandfather Walter Furtak of Wallington; and his sweet niece Phoenix. He was predeceased by his cherished grandfather Thomas Bartlo and cherished grandmother Estelle Furtak.

Friends may visit with the family for Memorial Visitation at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne, on Friday, January 5, 2018 from 6-9 PM.

A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, January 6, 2018 beginning 11:00 AM at Annunciation R.C. Church, 45 Urban Club Road, Wayne. Please meet directly at the church.

In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy in Michael’s name are asked to consider Melanoma Research Foundation, P.O. Box 759329, Baltimore, MD, or at www.melanoma.org.

Guest Book

1/2/2018

I am so sad to hear of Michael's passing. I remember him as a very kind boy....always with a big smile! I send my sincere condolences to his family and friends. May your loving memories be a comfort now and always.

Lynn Connelly

1/2/2018

I am sorry and sad to hear of the passing of Mike,i first met mike doing security at Aero in Cherry Hill mall took me in and went to back for me I was a part of the Aero family I remember Mike I got good news I'm having a lil girl haven't told me I could say anything none of the others in store knew at that moment he was filled the joy I could see it Mike you you gave me guidance u love and will miss you my condolences to all the Furtak family. X Lakeisha still

Lakeisha still

1/3/2018

Thinking of you and him everyday My thoughts, love and prayers to your whole family

Anthony Edwards

1/3/2018

To Brianne, and all your wonderful family & friends. We are so sorry for your loss and have no words to say that haven’t be said a hundred times already. Just know you all are daily in our prayers and thoughts. Sending much love and peace your way.

Jeff & Carole East

1/3/2018

To all the Furtac family...I am so very sorry for this terrible loss.Prayers for some Peace and Comfort at this difficult time.???

Gina Rinaldi Panzer

1/3/2018

Sending our deepest sympathies, love, grace and peace to all of you during this most difficult time. Words cannot express my sorrow, nor will heal your pain. Know that the love of family and friends surround you. Love Karen

Karen Felano Viglione & Family

1/4/2018

Gale, Walter and Devon, I am so very sorry for your loss. My sympathy goes out to the entire Furtak family. I pray that you all find a bit of comfort in your memories and in each other’s strength. Although I knew Mike only briefly, I remember him being a great guy.

Laura Dewey

1/5/2018

My dearest friends Gale and Walter, We are so very sorry for your loss. Michael was blessed to have such wonderful caring parents and wife and family members GOD BLESS him and your entire family. Dianna and Dino Bobo

Dianna Bobo

1/5/2018

To all Furtak family. Sending my deepest sympathies. My thought, love and prayers to your whole family. Lydia Kordys

Lydia Kordys

1/6/2018

Such a terrible loss... Such a beautiful soul... My heart is broken for you. May the love of family and friends help ease your pain and only sweet memories remain. Love, Denise (Nicki's Mom)

Denise Felano


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