Leland Pierson Funk, 92, formerly of niles

Published 4:56 pm Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nov. 23, 1921 — Feb. 13, 2014

Leland Pierson Funk, 92, a former longtime resident of Niles, Mich. died at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, at the VNA Hospice House in Vero Beach, Fla. following an extended illness.



He was born on Nov. 23, 1921, in Niles to Leland Ritter and Helen (Pierson) Funk. He was graduated from Niles High School, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State College (now University) at East Lansing.

While in college he served in the United States Army, and was a veteran of World War II. After graduation, he joined his father and uncle as an associate of the Funk Brothers Insurance Agency in Niles, and eventually owned and operated the Funk Insurance Agency of Southwestern Michigan.

Lee was a long-time member of Wesley United Methodist Church in Niles, where he sang and soloed with the choir and sang for many weddings and funerals. He had been a member of the Niles-Buchanan club of Rotary International since 1948, was president in 1961, and was a Paul Harris Fellow.

He was also a member of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, and was instrumental in the fundraising for the building on West Main Street. He enjoyed golfing, often at Orchard Hills Country Club, and won their first flight championship. He enjoyed photography, always adding a thoughtful caption to the print before giving it to the person photographed.

As a graduate of Michigan State University, he supported the Spartans and was often seen wearing green and white, and tailgating with friends before games. His greatest joy was spending time with his wife, children, and extended family at the Funk homestead on Diamond Lake, where he loved to sail.

At MSU he met his beloved wife, Jean Welch, and after graduation they were married on Sept. 25, 1948, in East Lansing, with whom he celebrated last year the 65th anniversary of their wedding.

Surviving family includes his wife, Jean and their son, Dr. Leland Welch (Ruth Anne) Funk of Vero Beach, Fla. and their children Hailey and Jack; their daughter Linda Funk Vaintrub of Chicago, Ill. and her children, Isabel, Amelia, and Sonja; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and by his four siblings Don, Joe and Ellen Funk, and Martha Mennucci.

All will be invited to a public service for Leland P. Funk in Niles at a later date. Private services were held in Vero Beach, and burial has been completed at Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.

Contributions in memory of Lee Funk may be made to the Wesley United Methodist Church. Local arrangements were made at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles.