Engineer Furr retires after 20 years

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 10, 2008

After the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors changed officersand appointed various positions around the courthouse Monday,almost all the faces and names that answer to the board remainedthe same.

There was one change, however. And with it ended 20 years ofservice.

Carl Ray Furr, of the engineering company Pickering Inc., inJackson, made his retirement official after serving the countysince 1987. The 70-year-old engineer sat in on one last boardmeeting, quietly nursing a cup of coffee until near the meeting’sadjournment before he said his farewell.

“Well, I have enjoyed it,” he said as he stood. “It’s been agreat pleasure to work with everyone in my home county for 20 yearsnow.”

During that 20 years, Furr has seen the faces of his countybosses change through five elections.

“You hate to see some of the old ones get beat,” he said. “Butthe new ones come on in and make friends quick and work hard forthe county. They’ve all turned out to be good ones. Over the years,I guess I’ve known and been friends with more than 20 or 25supervisors.”

Furr said he looks back on his service to Lincoln County with noregrets and feels that a positive impact was made during his timeas the county engineer. He is particularly proud a pair of bridges- the Cliff Givens Memorial Bridge on Industrial Park Road inBrookhaven and the railroad bridge in Bogue Chitto.

“In Bogue Chitto, the railroad was on an old truss bridge,” Furrsaid. “School children were playing on it and moving across there,and the bridge was old, starting to rot and it didn’t have anyrailings.

“It was really dangerous; a scary situation,” Furr continued.”We finally got federal funds and tore that thing down. We replacedit with a $2.5 million major concrete structure.”

Furr recounted that the supervisors were able to replace morethan 20 bridges around the county during his time as countyengineer. All that knocking down and building up is apparently tooexciting for Furr to walk away from completely.

“I’m not retiring completely, but scaling back,” he said. “I’llstill be working with Pickering on projects around the state, butI’ve decided to retire from the day to day work as a countyengineer. It’s very time-consuming, and you get to a point and timein your life when you just got to move on.

“I woke up one day and I said ‘I can’t believe this, I’ve beendoing this for 20 years,'” Furr continued. “Time flies when you’rehaving a good time. But I’m 70 years old, and its time to move onand make my family a little happier – time to reduce the wear andtear and stress on my body. That’s why I retired from the county,the age factor.”

Furr said he will continue to work with Lincoln County onspecial projects at the request of the board to “help the countymove forward and sweeten the cake.” He said he was not “just goingto walk off from Lincoln County.” His roots will not allow him todisappear.

“I’m a fifth generation Lincoln County man,” Furr pointed out.”My granddaddy, William Furr, was a supervisor in District Two for12 years during the 1930s and 1940s. My family first moved into thecounty around Lake Lincoln in 1816. I’ve got lots of roots here,and that made my time as the county engineer that much better.”

Stepping in to fill the void of county engineer is Jeff Dunganof Dungan Engineering.

“The board is bringing in a very good engineering firm,” Furrsaid of Dungan. “He is a very good young engineer with goodexperience. I feel good about being able to turn the reins over toa person of Jeff’s capabilities and professionalism.”

Dungan will begin working for the county immediately, as hemeets with the supervisors Wednesday to review the ongoing projectsthat his company will take over. The board approved an immediatecutoff date for Pickering projects Monday.

“There are jobs around the county at certain stages ofcompletion, and the firms have to pass the torch,” said ChanceryClerk Tillmon Bishop. “But it’s not going to be a problem. Dunganand Pickering have worked together before, and they work well withone another.”

As for Furr, he has already begun to embrace the free time henow has since retiring as the county engineer. He was in NewOrleans Monday night at the National Championship game, pulling forthe LSU Tigers.

“I’m a sports nut,” Furr said. “I’m going to enjoy a little moretime traveling with my family, going to sports events – I alwayslike to go to the U.S. Open golf tournament.”

Furr also plans to spend some time in the sun at his family’swinter home near West Palm Beach, Fla. He does not plan to be allbeach balls and sunglasses, however.

“I’m going to stay active and spend more time doing the things Iwant to do,” he said. “You gotta keep moving. If you completelyretire, then you just dry up and blow away.”