Father Ron Funke, SJ, entered into God’s peace March 21 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, Calif. He was 83. Teacher, hospital chaplain, parish priest, and sacramental minister, Fr. Funke’s upbeat approach and deep commitment to service made him a treasured presence in many lives.
Father Funke was born on April 7, 1933, in Orofino, Idaho, to Elma Wilma (Allenspauch) and Carl Bernard Funke. He was raised with his older sister, Jeanette Alene (Funke) Morgan, in Lewiston, Idaho where he attended St. Stanislaus grade school and graduated from Lewiston High School in 1951.
Father Funke entered the Society of Jesus in 1953 and was ordained in 1968. He celebrated more than 63 years in the Society of Jesus and found it very joyful, exciting, and eventful. He studied at Seattle University, Gonzaga University, Santa Clara University, and Heythrop College, London, England, earning degrees in philosophy, English literature, and theology.
He developed his love of teaching and taught at Gonzaga Prep, Spokane, Jesuit High School, Portland, Seattle Prep, and Eastside Catholic High, Bellevue, Wash. Between teaching assignments, he also served as a chaplain at various hospitals, including Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, St. Mary’s Hospital, Walla Walla, Wash., and Sacred Heart Hospital, Eugene.
During his early training, Fr. Funke was assigned to work in the Vatican and in Germany microfilming rare theological books. He then worked and explored Europe in the summers, learning various languages, photographing architecture, and visiting stately homes that he used for teaching and various lectures. He was known for sharing his summer diaries and slide shows with family and friends.
Father Funke filled the years since his retirement in 1996 by celebrating the Eucharist at St. Barbara Parish in Black Diamond, Wash., and at various health-care facilities; he also led funeral and graveside services at several cemeteries in the Seattle area. Over the years he provided counseling, inspirational homilies, and assistance in many ministries.
He lived more than 25 years in Seattle and enjoyed going to the theater and symphony concerts with friends, walking his dog, and gardening. He moved back to Spokane in 2015 and assisted with English classes at Gonzaga until he recently moved to Los Gatos, Calif.
Father Funke was always full of life and energy. His laughter and friendship will be deeply missed by his many friends, family, former students, colleagues, parishioners, and brother priests. Fr. Funke is survived by his sister, Jeanette Morgan and her husband Richard, in Lewiston, Idaho, and several nieces, nephew, and their children.
A vigil service will be held April 7, at 7:00 p.m. in the Jesuit House Chapel, Gonzaga University. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 1:00 p.m., April 8, at the Jesuit House Chapel with inurnment immediately following at Mt. St. Michael Cemetery. There will be a reception at the Regis Community (on the Gonzaga campus) at the conclusion of these rites.
Memorial contributions in honor of Fr. Funke may be sent to the following: Senior Jesuit Fund, Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR, 97286 (or through the province’s secure website at www.jesuitswest.org/OREdonations); All Saints Catholic School Foundation, 641 5th Ave, Lewiston, Idaho, 83501; or the charity of the donor’s choice.