Alvin Harold Funk, M.Sc., B.Sc., B.Ed., M. Sc. Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Alvin passed away at the age of 84 years old in his home in Ste. Anne, MB. He was predeceased by his parents, 2 siblings, late wife, and son. He is survived by 5 siblings.
Mourning his loss is his life partner, 2 daughters and their families.
Alvin was a loved husband, father, brother, friend, and teacher. To hundreds if not thousands of students across Manitoba, Alvin was known as Mr. Funk, a teacher of science, math, and computer courses over a span 40+ years. He liked to keep his classroom alive by having on hand a roster of bad jokes to pull from whenever the material got dry, and always had time to hear stories from his students, he loved knowing them on a personal level. Born in Gouldtown SK, and raised on a farm in Fertile SK, with his six brothers and sister, Alvin developed a deep love for prairie farm life. He spoke fondly of the farm school he attended in Fertile, where he discovered he was both a natural learner and teacher. Alvin voluntarily assisted the teacher in helping younger students, which set the stage for what would become a lifelong career in teaching. He attended the University of Manitoba and completed both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees. Alvin met his late wife, Margery, while attending university, and they set off on a life together as teachers, initially in Roblin, MB and Bateman and Eastend, SK. He earned a scholarship for a Master of Science program at the University of Minnesota. Upon Alvin’s graduation, they faced a fork in the road; he could pursue a career as a chemist, meaning further studies and an urban life (Chicago), or they could return to Manitoba and find a place to call home. It was an easy choice for them, relocating to Gilbert Plains and acquiring a property where he could raise cattle on a small scale while teaching. This was ideal for him to blend his love of the farm and passion for education. Their beautiful farm on the Valley River afforded his family a unique opportunity to experience farm life while he built his career as a teacher. He retired officially from teaching in 1996. However, retirement could not take the teacher out of Alvin, and he continued teaching courses for both Assiniboine and Red River Colleges and tutoring students from all walks of life, including his grandchildren, for many years. He particularly cherished the opportunity to experience life in some of Manitoba’s more Northern communities while teaching in the college nursing programs. Right to his most recent days, Alvin would receive phone calls, emails, and messages from former students, noting his impact on their lives and helping them achieve their successes. He was a true advocate for education, believed that everyone was capable of learning anything and had a gift for making sciences and math accessible to anyone willing to learn. After his retirement, he parted with his farm and moved to Ste Anne, Manitoba. There, he and his life partner Valery spent years building and improving the property to make it a home they both loved. Family, friends, and visitors were always welcomed, whether for a cup of coffee or a weekend visit. He lovingly referred to the property as “his bush”. He stayed true to his farming roots and built a coop so they could raise chickens, sharing eggs with neighbours, friends and family over the years. He joked the forest was his “gym” where he got his daily exercise “making wood” to heat their home. Maintaining a home heated mainly by a wood-burning stove was a source of great comfort and pride for him. He loved his farm, visiting his cabin, cherished fishing, spending time with his family and friends, and never lost enthusiasm for life despite some challenges he faced. Alvin will be deeply missed by those who knew him.
A celebration of life will be held at Crossings Funeral Care, 12E-40 North Gate Drive, Steinbach, MB on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 2:00 pm; family, friends, and students will be welcome to attend.