Edward L. Funkhouser
Edward Leland Funkhouser, was born July 29, 1903 at Dale Hamilton Co. Illinois the
son of Thomas J, Funkhouser and Anna Elizabeth Lemay. He married Alice Katherine Strattan
daughter of Elmer Frances Strattan and Hattie Marie Ellis on June 16,1923 at Mt Vernon IL.
My Daddy, Strong, kind, good natured, great sense of humor, always there for us. He
was a good family man who loved God, Mother, his children and the Church. He sang the
praises of God and Jesus for years in Church meetings all over Southern Illinois. He was
hard working and never without an income. We never went hungry, we ate "cafeteria style" a
few times but we ate.
Daddy loved to take us on family trips to the Reservoir where Grandpa Strattan was
the Caretaker, they had a consession stand, cabins to rent as well as fishing boats. The
road was a curving dirt road and we would all sing "She'll be Coming around the mountain
when she comes" I doubt that many of you remember that old song but we knew it well. There
was a swimming pool called Going's or Cummins and we would ride along singing Chattanooga
Choo Choo or Sentimental Journey all the way there and all the way home. Daddy used to kid
us us are we going to Cummins or coming to Going's. Well I'm still confused because I can't
tell you which way it was to this day. He had a little Ford Coup and he propped the trunk up
with a big stick and spread some blankets for padding and off we would go to Benton Lake, a
long 22 miles away, at the time it probably took an hour to get there. He was always ready
to beat the summer heat, we had many family outing's and we loved it.
I being the youngest daughter, I can't tell you a lot about the jobs Daddy held. I
may be wrong on some things I remember, after all I was only a child. I know that Daddy and
my Uncle Prather went into business at a Filling Station at the entrance to the county
fairgrounds and they went bust. I think that he sold vaccum cleaners for a short time, after
that he had a job at the Shoe Factory until the War broke out, then he was a foreman at the
Bomb Plant during the War. The Bomb Plant was converted from the Car Shops. I remember
worring that the bombs might explode and kill my Daddy. He worked at the Mitchell Furniture
Company when I was in High School and he was working in the furniture dept. at Montgomery
Wards when I graduated. I went to Springfield to work and lived with my Aunt Helen and Uncle
Prather, that didn't last very long. I had a job at Myers Brothers in the clothing dept.
until I got word that Dad had crushed his hand in the freight elevator at work, it had
severed his thumb from his hand, Dad picked up the thumb and drove himself to the hospital
where they put in an artificial joint and re-attached his thumb. Pretty good for medicine in
the mid fifties don't you think? I realized then that something could happen to one of my
parents and I wouldn't be there, so I quit my job and returned home. Daddy was out of work
for awhile as his hand healed. I met Jim and married him and when he went to find work in
Nevada, Daddy drove me there to be with him. I really got to know my him on that long trip,
we ran into a blizzard while in Arizona and we were scared, but Daddy trusted God and I
trusted him and we made it through. He said that leaving me there so far from home with a
boy he hardly knew was one of the hardest things he ever had to do.
When Daddy got a job with the State as an Auditor he had to travel and Mother hated
it but it was good pay, good benefits and retirement. He was allowed to take her with him
sometimes but not often. The amazing thing is that he had to pass a test to land that job
and he only had a 10th grade education, he was really nervous and thought that he would fail
the test but he took it anyway. Low and behold he missed only one question, the question
was: What is a short ton? He went straight to the dictionary when he returned home and looked
it up, from that day on he had a word of the day. He would look up a word and have fun using
it in sentences all that day. All good things must come to an end and when the Kennedy
Administration came in Dad lost his job as State Auditor.
Renting out their home, Dad and Mother came to Nevada to retire but soon Dad found
work in contruction but he was not used to the heat and Mother was afraid for him so they
decided to return to Mt. Vernon. Their house which they had rented out while away was a mess
and they had to redo it. Dad was working again at Mitchells Furniture. Mother was so busy
she didn't remember to take her blood pressure medicine and she suffered a stroke. After
some time Mother was mastering walking again when she fell and broke her hip. They put a pin
in her hip but she never walked again. Dad had a Heart and Gallbladder attack during this
period. Mother had the stroke at age 58 and died when she was 64. I came home from Nevada to
see her and was able to talk with her a bit before she died. I had to leave the day after
the funeral and I will say that was one of the hardest things I ever did, Dad looked so
small and alone as that plane left the ground that day. I cried all the way to Albuquerque.
Dad came to Nevada again to live, he worked for Jim's brother-in-law Dale Briner.
Dale owned a Water Well Drilling Company and Dad kept the books for him. He seemed happy but
one day he asked what I thought about him marrying again. I answered that I only wanted him
to be happy. Seems he had been in touch with an old friend and they were discussing it and
he did it he married Dorothy Pearson September 19, 1970, he then moved to Wisconsin as that
is where she was employed.
The next ten years, I'm not sure of. Dad and Dorothy separated and he returned to Mt. Vernon
to live, Dorothy remained in Wisconsin. After his return to Mt. Vernon he lived in public housing
for a time. I wrote him long letters almost every day and he did the same. We made tapes of us all
singing the songs of the day and he loved that. Music was always a big part of Dad's life. When
my brother Lynn moved to Nevada, Dad came back again. We set him up in a place of his own. His
health was failing he had several episodes with his heart and then developed Parkinson's Disease.
He was in and out of the hospital a lot the next ten years. He lived with Lynn and Betty for the
last few years until we could not give him the care he needed. We had to place him in a nursing
home because of the Parkinson's.
With all of his health problems he never lost his sense of humor. He passed away
December 23, 1987 at the Henderson Convalescent Home, Henderson, Clark County NV. He was 84.
I guess he wanted to be there for the big Birthday Party in Heaven. He was cremated and laid
to rest with my Mother at the Oakwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
Written and Submitted by Nancy E. Davis