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Wallie Funk makes Island history -- literally

Wallie Funk is presented his portrait by Island County Historical Society Executive Director Rick Castellano. The portrait will be hung at the Island County Museum in Coupeville. - Staff photo
Wallie Funk is presented his portrait by Island County Historical Society Executive Director Rick Castellano. The portrait will be hung at the Island County Museum in Coupeville.
— image credit: Staff photo

Wallie Funk has been giving to the Island County Museum for so long that he’s finally become a part of it ---  his portrait will hang inside the museum in Coupeville.

At a dinner and auction honoring the former co-owner, editor and publisher of the Whidbey News-Times, Rick Castellano presented the portrait to Funk, who seemed both surprised and pleased.

“They put just enough touches of gray to make me look my age,” quipped Funk after the meeting. “It’s a darn good piece of work.” He complimented the artist, islander Sarah Woehrman.

Nearing age 90, Funk has been retired from work since 1989, but continues to raise money for the museum and many other worthy efforts in the Anacortes area, where he lives.

Molly Hughes, one of the organizers and a busy volunteer at what she called the Awesome Autumn Auction and Tribute to Wallie Funk, described the affair as “fabulous,” succeeding in both goals of honoring Funk and raising money to keep the museum open.

“It was wonderful from start to finish,” Hughes said. “The room was perfect, just enough room to do everything you wanted.”

Funk, who was an outstanding photographer during his 25-year stint at the News-Times, saw his work decorating the walls of the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge.

“The program for Wallie was really special,” Hughes said. “The PowerPoint,  the letters, the dignitaries, the song, and I loved the portrait. I’m sure Wallie felt honored and that his guests felt like the museum had ‘done him proud.’”

“I truly enjoyed it,” Funk said. “I was surprised by the people who came and the museum does need some help.” He raised a sizable chunk of the money needed to build the museum in late ‘80s.

Castellano was impressed by how well Oak Harbor continues to support the museum, which is located in Coupeville near the historic wharf, and he thanked the Elks Lodge for its support in the effort to honor Funk.

“Resoundingly strong and committed community members came together to support our rich island heritage by bidding high on both silent and live auction items and experiences donated by local individuals, merchants and artists,” Castellano said.

The director left with a renewed feeling of enthusiasm generated by the support shown the night of Oct. 22.

“Island County Historical Society is buoyed by the recent outpouring of community support, and we are freshly resolved to preserving and celebrating our history --- for all of Island County,” he said.

Castellano took the opportunity to urge more involvement in preserving the history of Island County.

“Now is an excellent time for all to get involved,” he said. For information contact him at 678-3310 or at ed-ichs@whidbey.net.

 

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