Born in Liège , Belgium, the son of Pierre and Suzanne Furnémont, I was named Marc (the agent code name of one of my uncles during WWII) Paul (after my grandfather) Guy (my godfather) Alex (my other grandfather). I grew up in a suburb called Embourg, where I discovered the Beatles, Duteil and Brel, played volleyball and learned to sail, read books and more books, and shared a big house with Eric, Geneviève and Jean-François. After graduating from the Chênée High School (where I had an amazing English teacher named Georges Ketser), I spent a year in Canada as a Rotary Exchange Student at Ladysmith Secondary and, after toiling for 2 years in University in Belgium, I emigrated to Beautiful British Columbia in 1981.
I obtained my CPA designation while working (for almost 25 years) as the controller for a family run business in Nanaimo, until the brothers involved started self-destructing in a myriad of legal battles that only benefited lawyers (and still do after all this time …). With my position in the not-so-brotherly cross fire untenable, I asked our corporate insurance broker, Ross McKenzie, for a letter of reference. Ross then paid me one of the nicest compliments when he said he would gladly give me such a letter, but would rather offer me a job :-). Having dealt with Ross for over 20 years, I agreed to come down and meet with his business partner, Brad Hendry, and the rest is history. I moved to Victoria in December 2007, and I have been working for Hendry Swinton McKenzie Insurance ever since, where I have the luck and privilege to work with (and for) a great group of friendly and dedicated people.
I met Deanna in Nanaimo and my life took another amazing turn. In the words of the Polish writer Zbigniew Herbert: “Nieopatrznie przekroczyłem granicę zębόw i połknąłem jej ruchliwy język. Żyje teraz we mnie jak japońska rybka. Ociera się o serce i przeponę jak o ściany akwarium. Unosi pył z dna.” (Inadvertently I passed the border of her teeth and swallowed her agile tongue. It lives inside me now, like a Japanese fish. It brushes against my heart and my diaphragm as if against the walls of an aquarium. It stirs silt from the bottom.)
I have two kids from my first marriage and, even though I didn’t fully understand what this would bring to me when they were born, having the chance to laugh with them, nurture them, read with them, play with them, comfort them, teach them about music and sports and life in general, was one of the best parts of my life. They now share a duplex in Nanaimo: Thia lives with a menagerie of cats and dogs and works as a dispatcher, and Ryan works for Nanaimo Mack (and goes home to a very friendly lab named Jasmine).
Having discovered how much I enjoy watching and playing competitive badminton, I was approached by Rob Oldfield, who was trying to recruit and train umpires for the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games. This simple moment had a huge impact on my life, as I was subsequently asked if I wanted to pursue a truly international path, and continued an umpiring career that lasted 15 years and took me all over the world … and allowed me to forge some wonderful frienships.
I love to read (who takes “War and Peace” on a vacation to Mexico ???) and to listen to music. I really enjoy bike riding (see my blog about Lake Tahoe), I enjoy taking pictures (and working on our website to display some of them), and I play duplicate bridge once a week with Roy Sadd, a very bright and very patient young man.