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Mary Ann Ringwall Funk

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Mary Ann Ringwall FUNK 1926 ~ 2008 Mary Ann Ringwall Funk, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and teacher, passed away on Friday, October 10, at Island Hospital in Anacortes, WA. Mary Ann was a life-long learner. She influenced the lives of so many students whom she taught in Waitsburg, Anacortes, Oak Harbor and, ultimately, as a trustee of Skagit Valley College. She challenged the best and brightest of her kids. She encouraged all her students to open their eyes and minds to the world beyond her classroom. And, quietly, she offered support and hope to those who needed it the most. Mary Ann was born October 28, 1926, on a homestead worked by her parents, Hjalmar and Rose Ringwall, in rural northwest North Dakota. She was the eighth of nine children in a large farm family. She rode horses as a girl, loved a good time at the Sons of Norway Hall and drove wheat trucks in World War II. A Columbus, ND, High School graduate, she earned her degree from North Dakota State University. She met her husband, Wallie Funk, in the Anacortes High School boiler room. They married on June 25, 1954. Together for 54 years, Mary Ann and Wallie, a local newspaper publisher in Anacortes and Oak Harbor, raised two sons, Mark and Carl, who live in Seattle. After having her children, Mary Ann returned to teach high school English for more than two decades in Anacortes and Oak Harbor. During that time, she was an active member of the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters. When she retired, Mary Ann was appointed to the Skagit Valley College Board of Trustees by state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen. She volunteered at the Oak Harbor chapter of Planned Parenthood. Mary Ann enjoyed reading. Her daughter-in-law, Pam, wrote on her casket the opening lines of Alan Paton's classic, Cry, the Beloved Country, a book that "Mrs. Funk" taught in high school. She relished the time she spent with her close friends. She loved many things, including Guemes Island, Skagit Valley artists and Christmas, a time to be with her family. Mary Ann enjoyed listening to the music of her son Carl, a local singer-songwriter. She savored meals prepared by her daughter-in-law, Mara, a trained chef. One of her most treasured moments was the arrival of her two grandsons, Casey and Charlie, from South Korea. She also kept her extended North Dakota family together, reaching out to the younger generations that had settled in California, Minnesota, Arizona, New York and Washington state. It was unusual for Mary Ann to go into Anacortes or Oak Harbor after retirement and not run into former students. During her final days at Island Hospital, Mary Ann was cared for by wonderful nurses, almost all of them trained in programs at Skagit Valley College. It was testimony to her life's work. Mary Ann is survived by husband, Wallie, in Anacortes; sons, Carl and Mark, daughters-in-law, Mara Funk and Pam McGaffin; her grandsons, Charlie and Casey; and the cat, Toulouse, who adopted her. She is also survived by a brother, Chet, who remains on the family farm near Columbus, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Hjalmar and Rose, and seven brothers and sisters: Charlotte; Hjalmar Jr. ("Brother"); Eva; Evelyn; Mabel; Carl and Rose Marie ("Babe"). Mary Ann suggested that remembrances and donations be made to the Skagit Valley College Foundation, 2405 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, WA, 98273. or the Planned Parenthood chapter in Oak Harbor, 3159 Goldy Road, Oak Harbor, WA, 98277. She also asked that anyone reading this obituary buy a book in her memory from an independent book dealer -- and read it! A celebration of Mary Ann's life will be held Saturday, November 15, at the Bowman Gallery, 801 Fifth St., in Anacortes, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. A ceremony of remembrance will be conducted between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, WA and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Mary Ann, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.
Published in The Seattle Times from Nov. 9 to Nov. 10, 2008
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