Petar Furlan was born on July 26, 1935 in Montenegro from a Slovenian father (Leopold) and a Dalmatian mother (Faustina Filippi). During WW II his family had to resettle several times until they found a permanent home in what is today Sunja, Croatia. As a young man, Peter loved to read adventure books and was fascinated by what he discovered, so, at the age of sixteen, he decided to leave and explore the world. At that time, the borders were closed, so he had to run across the border from Yugoslavia into Italy and ask for asylum. He stayed in a refugee camp in Frascati outside of Rome for nearly two years, and, when the time came to resettle, he chose to go to Chile, South America. Once in his new adoptive country, Peter was able to find employment as a machinist and worked for a manufacturing company in Santiago where he was often assigned to complete jobs for the copper mines in the Andes mountains. Peter loved Chile, the warmth of its people, the mild climate, and its stable democracy. He had three sons and thought he had everything he needed to be happy. Things started to change in the early 70s when he separated from his wife, the Allende regime took over, and his future seemed uncertain. When the opportunity came for him to work in the U.S., he decided to make the move in search for a better life and a chance to help his sons. The Gethsemani Trappist monks in Palestine, TX sponsored his immigration and he stayed shortly with them before moving to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown, KY. From there, he commuted every day to work in Louisville until he was able to earn enough to live on his own. Once he moved to Louisville, he started a new life and soon made new friends. He was thrilled to meet the first Spanish speakers and connect with the Latino community which at that time was very small, and was grateful that they helped him better understand how to adjust to a new culture, a new language, and to a different way of living. As an immigrant, Peter loved to meet people from all over the world. He had friends from most continents and socialized with them on a regular basis. In the mid seventies, he joined the Louisville Ethnic Dancers and for many years performed with them on the Belvedere during the summer Ethnic Festivals. In the early eighties, he went back to visit Chile, and returned with his youngest son to help him get a good education. In 1984, he married Rosie, the love of his life, and they spent every summer traveling around the country or overseas. In 2000, Peter retired from Falls City Machine Technology, and, after a short break, went back to work as a medical interpreter for Spanish and Croatian/Bosnian speakers. He loved helping people who, like him, were faced with the challenges of leaving everything behind and start a new life. He went far and beyond his responsibilities to help the patients for whom he was interpreting, often working long hours to find donations of furniture and clothing, as well as identifying the resources they needed to start a new life with dignity and hope. Peter was also a very proud Croat and one of the happiest moments in his life was when Croatia became an independent country. His car license plate said “Croat One”, and he carried with infinite pride the Croatian flag at every Worldfest Parade of Cultures in Louisville since its start. Peter was a caring and attentive husband and father. He welcomed with open arms his mother-in-law after she suffered a stroke, and helped his wife take care of her. He supported his sons until they were of age, and continued to help throughout his life. Peter’s friends complimented him often on his energy and zest for life which, as a good husband, he attributed to his young wife. Unfortunately, shortly after retiring from his second job, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis, and the diseases took their toll quickly. He bravely endured six weeks of chemo and radiation therapies, followed by immunotherapy, and started to feel better. He bought tickets to visit his sons in Chile but his plans came to a halt when the cancer metastasized to his brain. Despite another set of radiation treatments, his lungs ultimately gave up. Peter died peacefully in the hands of his loving wife, surrounded by family and friends. Peter leaves behind Rosie, his wife of 36 years; his three sons, Poldi, Peter Jr. and Javier; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; his sister Senka; his mother-in-law Anita; his brother-in-law Robert and family; and the many friends here and around the world who all loved him dearly. Peter’s caring spirit, generous heart, and positive energy will be missed forever. Pocivaj nam u miru! ¡Descansa en paz! In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Oldham County Humane Society.
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