After living a full life, Raymond “Ray” Franklin Funk, 90, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Betty Funk, and three children, Clayton, Margo and Michael.
Ray was born in Salem, OR, in 1925 to Herman and Anna Funk. He leaves two siblings, Euleda Auernig and H. Alan Funk. Kenneth Funk preceded him in death in 2015. He had nine grandchildren.
Two years after graduating from Aberdeen High School, Ray moved to Portland, OR. He enrolled in business college with the hope of becoming a CPA. He learned that “city life” was expensive and started looking for work, eventually securing a job as a bus driver at the Portland Traction Company.
Ray was a proud military veteran. In 1948 he was drafted by the army and served in Fort Ord, CA; Fort Lewis, WA; and Schofield Barracks, HI. He was transferred to the army reserves in 1950, and later that year he was called back into the army when the Korean War began.
He moved back to Aberdeen, ID, in 1951 to join his father and farm together. He attended the First Mennonite Church in Aberdeen where he met Betty Neuman. They were married in 1953.
In 1962 Ray and Betty struck out to farm on their own. They methodically built up a very successful potato farm, and Ray was very active in the potato industry. He was elected to the Soil Conservation Board, County Farm Bureau and the State Board of the Idaho Potato Growers. Later in retirement Ray was appointed as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Idaho Department of Agriculture setting up support systems for struggling farmers. He later joined the Idaho VOCA program and traveled to Russia, Poland, and Egypt consulting with farmers on effective methods for potato farming.
In 1975 Ray was elected to the Aberdeen School District Board of Trustees and served until 1987. He was then elected as President of the Idaho State School Board Association in 1985. His influence in education continued to grow as he was elected President of the National School Boards Association, Pacific Region in 1987.
Ray had a love for flying. In 1980 he fulfilled his life-long dream of earning his private pilot’s license, and Ray and Betty purchased their first plane. Their love for flying drew them to be active members of the Idaho Flying Farmers. Ray was elected President of this group for two years.
Ray and Betty eventually moved to Eagle, ID, in 1995 and retired from farming. They joined the First United Methodist Church in Boise (The Cathedral of the Rockies) and became very active, establishing wonderful friendships.
Memorial services will be held at the Cathedral of the Rockies on Saturday, July 16, at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Sunset Youth Services (www.sunsetyouthservices.org).
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