Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Many Obituaries of Dr. Frank E. Funk

If you follow me on Facebook or attend my church, you probably already know that my dad, Dr. Frank E. Funk, died early Friday morning last week. The memorial service in Tucson is this Thursday at 12:30, and the funeral and interment of his ashes will be at First Presbyterian in Wilmington, NC, probably the following Tuesday. even though my dad planned ahead, prepaid his funeral arrangements and had things all organized, there is still a lot to do.

The final arrangements for my dad are an interstate web of communications. My stepsisters are in Vermont and in Phoenix. The cities where people would care that my dad died are Syracuse, Wilmington and (a little bit) Tucson. Tucson obituary ad rates are exorbitant. Even with everything remotely interesting about his life omitted, the Tucson ad will be over $500. The Wilmington one will be much longer, covering his military service, professional career and Wilmington volunteerism. I just sent a  very long, Syracuse-centric version to Syracuse University, where he worked for 32 years, much of it as Dean of University College. And of course, there's always the Internet: my Facebook page, the page of a group dedicated to the 463rd Bomb Group for which my dad was a WW II navigator, this blog, Find-a-Grave and probably my website.

I've lost track of how many versions of the obit my stepsisters and I have labored over these past few days. There were cuts to the Tucson one, to the point at which - oops! - I temporarily left out mention of my stepmother! There was a cut to the Wilmington one to deliberately omit my own mother, who was out of the picture by the time he and Ruth moved there. There were additions to the Wilmington one to mention more of his volunteer and board member work in Wilmington, and to omit all mention of my time with him after he moved to Tucson. And there was a weird hybrid version that I put on Ancestry.com last night, filling in details around the ages of family members at the time of his birth and other genealogical details.

Sometime in the next few days, I'll put together the definitive, kitchen sink tribute to Dad. Watch this space.