On July 28 2021, we lost our beloved brother, uncle, and friend, Benny Funk. Born in Tanacross Alaska, he went to school in Fairbanks, but his family spent summers at their homestead on Mentasta Lake, Alaska. It was there that he was instilled with a love of nature and the outdoors.
In adulthood he was employed as a teamster on the construction of the pipeline, as well as other jobs, including a long stint in the civil service at Eielson AFB. However, he was most proud of his time in the US Navy, aboard the USS Perkins as a signalman for 4 years, earning an honorable discharge.
He was also a proud member of Doyon Ltd. and Tanacross Inc.
In the 1990s, Benny was drawn back to his earlier experiences at Mentasta Lake where he took up living fulltime and was embraced by the community as one of their own. Always pleased to entertain friends and family with his observations of the scenery, birds and animals, he shared his enthusiasm in many beautiful photos caught by his expert eye. With grand mountains in the distance, and the Lake only steps from his cabin, he also became an avid fisherman. Whenever he motored out in his boat, which he laughingly named “The Happy Hooker,” the fish stood no chance.
On land, he was a keen hunter and marksman, frequently target practicing with any one of the numerous guns in his collection, and as a crack shot, could hit the bull’s eye more often than not.
From Mentasta on the Tok cutoff through Tanacross and Dot Lake, Benny had many friends up and down the highway to Fairbanks.
Benny was known for his kind and giving nature. Everyone he met commented on what a genuinely nice guy he was. You could often hear him whistling or humming as he enjoyed the day.
Over the years, he always loved and cared for his special dogs, Laddie, Buddy, and later, Pal, who saved Benny by heroically chasing off a bear when it broke into their cabin one night.
Benny was preceded in death by his mother, Dora Funk, John Funk, and brother, Emanuel. He leaves behind to mourn his passing, his sister Maxine Caywood of Arizona; niece, Deborah Grasham of California; sister Libby Chavez of Fairbanks; Aunt Kathleen McClellan, Uncles Eldred and Herbert Paul; niece Dee Dee Chavez and her husband, Rick Hoegberg of Fairbanks; and numerous relatives through Interior Alaska.
Benny spent his final years at The Denali Center where he was treated with the utmost love, compassion and care humanly possible. His remaining family wish to let the wonderful people of The Denali Center know how very deeply they are appreciated. Benny was a loving man in the care of loving people.
A celebration of Benny will begin with a viewing from 2 – 3 pm, followed by a service starting at 3 pm on Saturday, August 7th 2021, at the Blanchard Funeral Home, located at 611 Noble Street in Fairbanks. Masks are encouraged.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Benjamin R. Funk, please visit our floral store.