Former Whidbey News-Times owner Wallie Funk donated a sculpture to the City of Oak Harbor to preserve the memory of four great teachers.
“It’s in recognition of the impact they had on Oak Harbor High School students during their tenure there,” Funk said.
Funk unveiled a rendering of the artwork at the opening ceremony of the Oak Harbor Music Festival Friday, Sept. 30. Mayor Scott Dudley was there to accept the piece on behalf of Oak Harbor.
“It’s great to see the impact the community has on people’s lives and how individuals give back to their community,” Dudley said. “In the case of Wallie Funk, he’s giving back his dollars in sculpture. We’re living in a beautiful community and art pieces are a part of that. We are very pleased and excited about the piece.”
The names of four teachers will appear on the sculpture, including Funk’s now-deceased wife Maryanne Funk. The other honored teachers are Tom Carroll, Pat Hawley and Trudy Sundberg. Hawley is the only honoree who is still living.
Funk, who now lives in Anacortes, describes this group of Oak Harbor teachers as “extraordinary.”
Funk said he wanted to donate it in conjunction with the music festival to honor Oak Harbor educators like Ed Bridges, the namesake for the scholarship awarded during the festival.
Funk said he hopes to further encourage people to donate money to the music festival for scholarships.
“This is just so thrilling for me to be a part of,” Funk said.
The sculpture, created by local artist and former Oak Harbor High School teacher Richard Nash, will be placed somewhere in Oak Harbor in a location to be determined by the Arts Commission.
“I’ve been aware of him for a long time,” Funk said. “I saw a piece of artwork I admired and I bought it,” Funk said. “I’m so pleased with the work.”
Nash’s art will soon be accessible to all Oak Harbor residents and visitors once a location is determined.
Funk owned the Whidbey News-Times with co-publisher John Webber from 1964 to 1989 when he sold the newspaper to Sound Publishing.