He was many things to many people, but to his colleagues in the Village of Mamaroneck, Keith Furey was a fountain of knowledge that never ran dry. As the consulting village engineer, Furey had a near-encyclopedic comprehension of the laws and stipulations that constituted the village’s zoning and planning laws, and a passion for environmental issues. His untimely death on June 30 from colon cancer was a loss not only to the hundreds of people that knew Furey in his hometown of New City, but also to the people that had worked alongside him for years.
“He was one of the smartest people I knew,” said Rob Melillo, the interim village building inspector who had known Furey since 2007. “He could pick up a book and could tell you everything.”
Furey, who was instrumental in rewriting stormwater law in the village among other accomplishments, had been involved with the village for the past 20 years. He was initially hired as a junior engineer, and eventually played a major role on both the village planning and zoning boards, helping to render decisions.
“It was a tough year for our department; it’s going to put us back for awhile,” said Melillo, emphasizing the wide body of knowledge specific to the village that Furey had amassed over his two decades working there.
Former village building inspector John Winters—who recently became the inspector in Yorktown Heights—had also known Furey for about four years, although it seemed like a lifetime.
“He was one of the most professional and knowledgeable people I worked with,” he said, echoing the sentiments of many others who had known him.
The two quickly became best friends, said Winters, playing golf together in Elmsford.
“We were almost interchangeable,” he said, adding that the news of Furey’s death was “devastating.”
In dedication to Furey, the village board approved a bench and tree to be placed near the entrance to the VOM Courthouse on 169 Mt. Pleasant Ave. A plaque will read, “In memory of Keith Furey, village engineer.”
According to Village Manager Rich Slingerland, the bench should arrive sometime in late September and the tree will be planted in late October or early November.
George Mgrditchian, chair of the village Republican party and a former member of the zoning board of appeals, knew Keith for over 12 years.
“He was very passionate about his work—he wanted to do good by the village,” he said, adding, “He was just a world of knowledge.”