Irwin "Irv" Furman, 60, of Mount Laurel, a master magician and owner of Philadelphia's Hocus Pocus Magic Shop, died of a heart attack Dec. 21 at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden.
Mr. Furman's narrow shop, on Fourth Street near South, carried tarot and trick cards, capes, juggling balls, and everything else to fill a sorcerer's bag, plus such essential practical-joke items as "blood"-squirting knives. Visitors included performers Penn and Teller and magician Harry Blackstone Jr.
At Hocus Pocus, which he opened 15 years ago, Mr. Furman was always willing to demonstrate to children and adults how items were used. He also taught hour-long sessions in illusion there, complete with the tools of the trade, for $35.
A master at sleight of hand, he performed for more than 40 years at children's events, trade shows and corporate events. Mr. Furman taught a course in magic at Temple University for 10 years, produced instructional DVDs, and wrote books including
Magic and the Educated Rabbit
Magic for the Klutz
Fun With Magic
Amazing Irv's Handbook of Everyday Magic
"I only wish that I had been able to properly thank Irv for teaching me that I had the ability to inspire astonishment in others," said Dan White of New York, a professional magician who grew up in Philadelphia and worked at Hocus Pocus for a time.
In 2003, Mr. Furman was honored as small businessman of the year by the Eastern Montgomery County Chapter of Service Corps of Retired Executives. He had consulted chapter members in 1992 when he was considering opening his shop. Mr. Furman took their advice, and within three months of opening Hocus Pocus had repaid his start-up costs and was slowly building his inventory, the group said.
Mr. Furman, who began doing magic trips at age 5, graduated from Olney High School in Philadelphia. He earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education from Temple. For several years, he taught physical education in Philadelphia public schools, and for seven years he taught education courses at Marywood College in Scranton.
He was also a motivational speaker, incorporating magic into lectures he presented to teachers and others. He volunteered as a counselor and performed magic at the Youth Study Center in Philadelphia.
Mr. Furman is survived by his companion, Ann Spiegeland; a son, Derek; a daughter, Julie Koffman; two brothers; a sister; two grandchildren; and his former wife, Brenda.
Last Sunday, Mr. Furman's magician's wand was ceremonially broken at his funeral, then placed in his grave at Mount Jacob Cemetery in Glenolden, Spiegeland said.