Thomas Leonard Furino died suddenly on April 6 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after suffering a perforation of the small intestine. He was 63.

Tom was well known on the Vineyard for his advocacy work with teaching safe driving to high school students. He was inspired to do the work after his son David was killed in a car accident on the Vineyard at the age of 17.

Tom was born June 10, 1956, in Newton, the son of Domenic Furino of Italy and Nancy (Burdoin) Furino of Wellesley. The family moved to Sherborn when Tom was nine and his sister Elizabeth seven. He grew up on Woodland street and had lots of neighborhood friends. He was a strong, kind, and funny friend who was always thinking of others.

He was a gifted athlete playing both baseball and football in high school. He received a full scholarship to Boston University to play football. He was a middle linebacker and a tough contender, yet he always gave a hand to help a player up. In summers he worked for his dad doing masonry.

He met the love of his life Barbara Stearns from Sudbury in the summer of 1977 while she was on break from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. They both loved to dance and frequently went to Timothy’s Two where Tom would have the dance floor clear out while they danced to disco music. He was better than John Travolta.

Barbara’s parents owned a cottage in Oak Bluffs and Tom loved Martha’s Vineyard. He and Barbara loved shellfishing, fishing and four wheeling on Chappy.

They married in September 1982 at a huge outdoor wedding.

Michael Furino was born in 1984 and the couple moved to the Vineyard when he was four months old. They bought a cottage near Barbara’s parents. Tom was doing masonry and also worked as a building contractor. Son David Domenic Furino was born in 1987. They first built a house on Vickers Way then a second in Meadow View Farms where the boys had many lifelong friends, finally building their house in Island Grove. Tom built other homes, and also exported bluefin tuna to Japan. One summer he moved the family and his in-laws to Rockport to be close to Gloucester, where he could meet the boats and buy fish.

His love of the sea endured. He had a boat (the Fish Finder) built in Maine, and he started a charter business with his father in law Larry as first mate. He was an expert bass fisherman, and his family called him the Bass King. The whole family loved to fish as well as to collect arrowheads and beach glass. They made wampum and beach glass jewelry, and won awards at the fair.

Tom coached Mike’s baseball teams, and the boys’ friends loved to visit and have sleepovers, with lots of laughter all around.

He loved classic cars especially muscle cars. He owned a Boss 302, 429 Cobra Jets, Pontiac GTO, Corvette, other Mustangs and a rare Charger.

On May 7, 2004 tragedy struck when at age 17 David died in a car crash with his friend Kevin. Tom decided to give something back by bringing comprehensive driver education into the high school curriculum. He advocated tirelessly for better student driver training, and to the this day bumper stickers proclaiming Buckle up for KJ and Deebo can be seen around the Island.

He was a stone craftsman and built many beach stone fireplaces with Mike and Barbara.

Everyone loved to laugh with Tom. He had a heart of gold. He was a character on Facebook, showing off his love of cooking. He will be sorely missed by his family.

He is survived by his wife Barbara and son Michael; his mother Nancy Furino; sister Elizabeth Furino; and several in laws and nephews. He was predeceased by his son David and his father Domenic Furino.

During this pandemic time, a private graveside service was held in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Oak Bluffs April 11, officiated by the Rev. Dr. Roger Spinney.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. An online guest book is at