Through pandemics & politics, Dr. Andrew Furey and his wife Dr. Allison Furey put family first
Like many homes throughout the province, it’s a wild Saturday inside the Furey home.
Dad’s just getting home from being out on the campaign trail and the house is buzzing with a flurry of Furey activity. But Dr. Andrew Furey and his wife Dr. Allison Furey have things mostly under control. And if it’s not always smooth sailing, they’re not about to sweat the small stuff.
It’s family time
Supper’s in the slowcooker, and just a few fresh additions will make meal time complete. As for the kids – Rachael, Maggie and Mark – they are on the go, perfectly content just doing their thing. From video game match-ups to musical performances, to heading outside for an evening in the snow, it’s family time.
Talk to the Fureys and you’ll discover their romance began back in their medical school days in 1997. Allison, a come from away, says that Andrew was “one of many friendly Newfoundlanders” she met on that very first day. Andrew’s memory of that day seems a little more clear.
“I distinctly remember meeting her for the first time in medical school in the foyer, a common area for students, and she still has the jacket. It’s a yellow Columbia jacket. And it was a ski jacket. I remember distinctly wondering who that person was. We became friends and then subsequently started to date. But I’ll never forget where we were when I first met her.”
The couple, chopping supper veggies side-by-side as we speak about first meeting one another, get an adorable case of ‘the kids are listening’ giggles and Andrew teasingly tries to shoo his wife out of earshot. She’s the one holding the knife, she reminds him. They laugh.
‘I love her’
With Valentine’s Day approaching, we ask if the two have any special plans.
Allison is a doctor at The Janeway, and Andrew is vying to form government and lead the province with a majority, so will they make time for romance, we ask.
There’s always time for family, Andrew said. “She does a lot to show me she cares about our family, that’s for sure, but I like to think that I do small things throughout every day. I text her that I love her when times are busy so she knows she’s on my mind.”
And the best part of his day?
“My favourite part of the day is coming home to the kids and to Allison. No question. With everything going on, the job can be tough. My previous job was tough too. And sometimes you think you’re going to take some of that home with you and that’s not fair to the kids or to Allison.
“Walking through the front door and getting a big hug from the kids makes a huge difference. They don’t know what went on in the Confederation Building, or what went on in Question Period. They make the work day worries fade away pretty quick,” he shared sincerely.
Allison adds how proud she is of her husband, and how thrilled she is when she sees his commitment to their family on display. “He’s not only premier. He’s about much more than any position he holds. He’s a husband and a father. And we know we’re a priority.”
We ask Andrew where he thinks his ability to balance a demanding career while keeping his home life in check came from. His dad, Senator George Furey, gets some of the credit.
“Dad was a great role model, and not only was he a great role model, he’s one of my best friends. I’ve learned so much from him over the years. He exposed me to politics and he taught me about politics, but he also taught me balance. And oftentimes being a type A personality, I can go to extremes. Dad always taught me to stay balanced.”
That’s not to say that there’s not sacrifice from time to time.
“It’s tough, there’s no question. But my top priority is always going to be my family. That’s something that’s been instilled in me since I was a kid. Obviously, growing up around politics, I’ve seen the toll it can take on families. And when we decided to do this, this was a collective decision, but we said we’d always put family first,” Andrew shared.
They haven’t always been successful, the two admit. But they keep trying and they remain optimistic.
“There’s no question it’s been a learning curve, a steep learning curve for us. But we’re trying to find the balance. And hopefully after a successful election and with a stable majority government, we will be able to find even more of a balance in the year ahead,” said Andrew.
Quality Family Time
Allison shared that part of the reason they have been able to keep things in check has been because of their support system.
“We struggle like most families do at times. Sometimes our kids are super busy and we’re busy with our careers and our interests, but we surround ourselves with great friends and family and people that are willing to help when we need them to. We try to do as much as we can between the two of us but sometimes that’s impossible, as most people out there know. If you have three kids and they’re into all of their activities, it’s almost impossible to do it all.”
We ask if, back when the two first met, she ever envisioned she’d be the wife of a premier. Allison laughed.
“Andrew’s always been a very motivated and highly energetic person who is a high achiever and always had the political bug and the drive. So, here we are.”
They laugh. Life, they agree, can take many interesting twists and turns.
Ask Andrew where the success for the family stems from and he’ll give credit to his wife.
“Not only is she a caring pediatric emergency room physician, she’s an incredibly loving mother and a beautiful wife. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this adventure in life.”
‘Ee get flowers’
We get nosy about Valentine’s Day. What does that look like in their family?
“Andrew’s very respectful of all of us. Every Valentine’s Day, we get flowers – the girls get flowers and I get flowers. And I always say, ‘Andrew, don’t get me flowers. I don’t need flowers,’ and it doesn’t matter. We get flowers. But that’s him. He’s really good at thoughtful little gifts, too,” Allison shared.
But being a good Valentine is about more than flowers and gifts, she said.
“He’s up for hockey with Mark. Mark and Andrew have this ongoing NHL PS4 thing that they do. Or they play chess. And Rachael, our middle one’s really into soccer so he’s good at making sure that he’s at the soccer games and supportive of her and the things that she does. And Maggie is our singer. We support all of them and the things that they love to do even when we are pulled in 25,000 different directions on most days.”
Speaking of love, being a come from away, Allison has a very unique take on Newfoundland and Labrador and those who live here.
“I have been welcomed by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians since the day I got here. That group of friends from medical school really did embrace me. They were very welcoming, very accepting. I started an American Thanksgiving tradition here and they all joined me in that because I couldn’t go home. Friendship is one thing that this province has generously given me and I have even embraced the weather. I used the snowblower today.”
Allison laughed, looking on as their youngest, Mark, headed out to do some sledding. “Newfoundland and Labrador is a very gracious, beautiful, grand, amazing place that I’m happy to live in.”
Andrew beams. “We both wanted to make this place home. And it’s been good to us and to the children. I’m passionate about helping to make this a great place to raise a family,” Andrew said.
Allison nods. Supper’s just about ready and it’s time for some quality family time around the dinner table.
“I know where Andrew comes from. I know the place that he comes from and I know that he’s not in this position for self-gain. He’s a good husband, a great father, and an amazing man. I know he’s not in it for anything other than to do his part for Newfoundland and Labrador, a place that he loves.”