Dr. C. Reed Funk, world-renowned plant breeder, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, passed away Oct. 4, 2012, at the age of 84. He was born to Cyril and Hazel Funk on Sept. 20, 1928, in Richmond, Utah, where he was raised on the family farm that he loved.
After completing an LDS mission to the Eastern States, he returned home to his college sweetheart, Donna Gwen Buttars, and on Feb. 2, 1951, they were married in the Logan LDS Temple. He served honorably as 1st lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War
Reed loved and valued education. He graduated from North Cache High School. He received both a BS and MS degree from Utah State University and graduated with the highest GPA of his class. After a year of studying alfalfa breeding at Iowa State, he transferred to Rutgers University where he earned a Ph.D. in agronomy.
Reed was the leader of one of the world's most extensive turfgrass breeding projects. His selections comprise more commercially accepted varieties than any other breeder in the world. Reed has been the recipient of numerous accolades and awards, most notably: "Man of the Year" by 1982-83 Oregon Seed Trade Association; "Man of the Year" by Landscape and Irrigation magazine, 1985; Distinguished Service Award for Agricultural Research from the United States Department of Agriculture, 1990; "Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Science Award," Crop Science Society of America, 1990; and the Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 1991. Reed was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame in 1991, and in 1994 he received an honorary doctorate degree of agricultural sciences from Utah State University. He was inducted into the Uzbekistan Academy of Sciences in 1998. The Dr. C. Reed Funk building was dedicated to him at the Rutgers Hort. Farm II. He has been written up in numerous trade publications, as well as The New York Times and US News and World Report. He authored and co-authored several hundred scientific publications.
At the age of 75 he became the George Hammell Cook Emeritus Professor at Rutgers University and founded the non-profit charitable organization, Improving Perennial Plants for Food and Bioenergy (IPPFBE). The IPPFBE mission is the scientific selection and improvement of underutilized perennial plant species for the production of food, timber and energy and the preservation and enhancement of soil for the benefit of the entire world. Reed's dream was to eradicate world hunger.
Even with his extensive education, experience, and long list of impressive accomplishments, his family will remember him most for the Christ-like example he set. His generosity, humility, honesty, modesty, kindness, hospitality and integrity were unparalleled. He had a tremendous sense of humor and contagious smile. We can never express our appreciation for his love, patience and kindness that we have witnessed these last few years as he has treated his sweetheart, our mother, with the dignity she deserved during her ongoing battle with Alzheimer's.
He is survived by his wife, Donna; their children, Bonnie (Jeff) Adams of Somerset, N.J., David (Tamara) Funk of Richmond, Utah, and Carol Jean (Brian) Petersen of Tremonton, Utah; and his siblings, Anna Wheeler of Chandler, Ariz., Helen (Ken) Cutler of Provo, Utah, Mary Lou Cordon of Ogden, Utah, Ramona (Ken) Turner of Richmond, Utah, Clarence (Joan) Funk of San Diego, Calif. He adored and took great pride in his 10 grandchildren and soon-to-be eight great-grandchildren.
Reed dedicated his life to making the world a better place and succeeded far beyond anyone's expectations. He is deeply loved and will be greatly missed. Please come and celebrate Reed's life with us.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, in the Richmond 4th Ward chapel, 150 S. 100 West. A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 E. Center St., Logan, and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, prior to services at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to IPPFBE, Reed's non-profit group, at any Lewiston State Bank or on the website www.ippfbe.org.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.allenmortuaries.net.