Archbishop Francis James Furey

He Came from Coaldale and Left His Mark as a Prelate
(Valley Gazette, June 1979)

A small town boy who rose to prominence as a Catholic clergyman and became an inspirational leader of 630,000 Catholics in the San Antonio Archdiocese—that’s the story of Archbishop Francis James Furey, who died of cancer at the age of 74 on Monday, April 23, 1979, in the Community Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

Archbishop Furey, brother of James Furey of Coaldale and Anna Marie, wife of Dr. Frank Dougherty of Pottsville, was described in the New York Times report of his death as a leading supporter of social causes among Hispanic-Americans of the archdiocese he served for the last 10 years.

He was born Feb. 22, 1905, in Summit Hill, Pa., the oldest of five children of the late John and Anna Furey. He attended public schools in Coaldale, Pa., and graduated from St. Mary’s High School, now Marian High School. He studied for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa., and earned doctorates in philosophy and sacred theology at the Pontifical Roman Seminary in Rome.

From 1936 to 1946, he was president of Immaculata College in Immaculata, Pa., and for the next 12 years served as rector and teacher at the seminary he had attended.

In 1960, Pope John XXIII appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia. Two years later, he was named to the administrative tribunal of the Vatican Council and became Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of San Diego. He was appointed head of the diocese in 1966.