Dr. Frank E. Funk: A Tribute to My Dad
by Karen Funk Blocher

Dr. Frank E. Funk - FP Elder

Dr. Frank E. Funk - February 21, 1923 to August 21, 2015

Frank Funk died early Friday morning, August 21, 2015, of heart complications. He was 92 years old. A World War II veteran, educator, administrator, volunteer and hobbyist, he had a long and interesting life.

Flight Officer - Navigator Frank Funk in 1944
Flight Officer - Navigator Frank Funk in 1944 Flight Officer - Navigator Frank Funk in 1944

As a navigator with the 772nd Squadron, 463rd Bomb Group, 15th Air Corps, he flew seven bombing missions out of Foggia, Italy in 1944. On December 20, 1944, Frank bailed out of a sabotaged plane over Czechoslovakia after all four engines failed. He spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft One.

After the war he attended Syracuse University on the G.I. Bill, earning his B.S. and M.S. in Speech Communication. He married Ruth Anne Johnson in 1949. They had their first child, Steven Eric Funk, in 1950, while Frank was teaching at Lehigh University. Frank and Ruth Anne taught as graduate students at Purdue University, where they each earned their PhD.

Frank Funk glamour shot circa 1950s

His "Clark Gable" glamour shot

Frank and baby Karen,
Frank and baby Karen in 1957
Right: Frank and Ruth Anne
circa 1949
Frank and Ruth Anne Funk circa 1949

They then moved to Syracuse, NY, where Frank became an Assistant (later Associate) Professor of Speech at Syracuse University. Their daughter, Karen Christine Funk, was born in 1957. In 1965, Frank became Assistant Dean at S.U.'s University College. He finished his 32-year career at Syracuse as Dean of University College and Director of Continuing Education. In 1976, Frank and Ruth Anne were divorced. In 1977, Frank married Dr. Ruth Christy.

Frank at Syracuse University Commencement

Frank at a Syracuse University Commencement
Dean Frank Funk at University College

Upon retirement, Frank and Ruth relocated to Wilmington. A model railroad hobbyist, he was a long-time volunteer and board member with the Wilmington Railroad Museum. As President of its foundation, he oversaw the museum's relocation and expansion. He also served as an elder at First Presbyterian Church, as President of the board of WHQR, and as a board member for the Alliance for a Regional Concert Hall (ARCH), of which Ruth was co-founder and President.

Drs. Frank and Ruth Funk in Wilmington

Drs. Frank and Ruth Funk in Wilmington
Frank Funk at Wilmington Railroad Museum
Frank Funk at First Presbyterian

Strokes and the 2012 death of his beloved wife Ruth took their toll, and in February, 2013 Frank moved to a memory care facility in Tucson, AZ, a few miles from the home of his daughter, Karen. After a year of "lunch and adventures" on weekends with Karen, Frank settled in as a beloved resident at Cascades of Tucson, with a smile for everyone.

Frank was preceded in death by his sisters Hazel, Doris and Grace, wife Dr. Ruth Christy Funk (1934-2012), son Steven Funk (1950-2014), and ex-wife Dr. Ruth Anne Johnson (1927-2002), He is survived by his daughter, Karen Funk Blocher (husband John Blocher), his stepdaughters Janet Johnson (husband James Tremblay) and Dr. Amy Sisley, his sister Marie, nieces and nephews.
There will be two memorial services. The first will be at St Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church in Tucson, AZ on Thursday, August 27th at 12:30 PM. The funeral and interment will be at First Presbyterian in Wilmington, NC, Tuesday, September 1st at 11 AM.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Wilmington Symphony, Syracuse University, or the Wilmington Railroad Museum.

Tucson obituary online Wilmington obituary online

Dr. Frank E. Funk
Veterans History Project: Frank E. Funk Collection

Interview with Frank Funk, August 14, 2007 | UNCW Archives

Dr. Frank E. Funk

Frank E Funk on Find-a-Grave

Frank, Karen and Steve
Funk family tree on Ancestry.com
Dr. Ruth Anne Johnson
Mom: A Tribute to Dr. Ruth Anne Johnson
Legacy: The Musical Satire of Ruth Anne Johnson Funk

Ruth Anne Johnson on Find A Grave
Welcome to Mâvarin page
Karen's Author bio page
Karen's Credos and Curios page

Ed Hutchison's web site, with Dewitt-related and genealogical links

Last updated: 5/6/2016