GREENVILLE — Bill Funderburg left his journey here on earth on May 8 at the age of 78.
Yes, he is gone and is already missed by those who knew and loved and admired him.
Larry R. Royer is one of those who mourn his loss.
“He was always trying to teach me something good,” Royer said. “He is probably one of the best hog breeders in the world. He is well respected around the world in the hog industry. He was kind of my mentor. We were pretty close. We just went to a pig sale two weeks before he passed. I’m sure glad I did that with him. He was quite the teacher and good of a family man as I ever knew. Family was important to him.”
Jim Buchy, Greenville native and former Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, said he and Funderburg’s lives crossed back in high school.
“He was two years ahead of me and quite a basketball player when he was younger,” Buchy said.
He was one of the managers and we became friends,” Buchy said. “Then, he went to Wittenberg to play basketball and get an education degree and I went to Wittenberg. I started as a freshman when Bill was a junior and he was coach of our JV team. We ran into each other on campus and he asked me to be manager with him. Our friendship goes goes deep.”
Buchy said his friend was a world renowned expert about swine.
“He was highly regarded throughout the world,” he said. “At one time, he was probably the number-one Yorkshire breeder in the country. He worked an awful lot, always genetically on the making of hogs. Today they are longer and leaner Throughout his career, Bill was involved in the makeup and genetics of the pig. There was a lot I didn’t know about because he didn’t talk about it. He was one of the most incredible people I know. He was responsible for me being in public service. In 1980, two had resigned from the Greenville Board of Education, and Bill contacted John Spidel and me and asked if he would be interested in the vacant sets. I applied and got accepted. That’s how I got into public service…through Bill Funderburg. He is a very deep personal friend. Our families go way back.”
“Bill was very principled and a moral person who was for many years involved with the Greenville community and school,” remarked Fred Troutwine of Arcanum. “I always admired him for having the community and school his priority. It was his desire to help the community. We go back a long way. I was a freshman attending Wittenberg and he was a senior. Somehow he found out that I was coming there and he requested me to be his roommate that year. He was a mentor, and also the reserve basketball coach that year and I was on the JV basketball team. The nice thing was to have someone there from Darke County helping a young person like me. For many, many years his family and our family were friends and did things together, especially when the children were younger…58 years of knowing someone and being involved with each other with their children in Greenville and ours at Arcanum school systems. I graduated from Wittenberg and went into the family business and he graduated, came back and was teaching and working with pigs. Both of us came back to Darke County.”
Dave Westfall of Greenville said his first encounter with Funderburg was in 1980.
“That was my first year of teaching and Bill was on the school board,” Westfall said. “They hired me to be seventh-grade basketball coach. He said, ‘You’ve got my son on the team.’ We won 10 games, but lost the next game. He said, ‘Westy, I’m going to put you back in sixth grade.’ I worked on his farm in the 1980s. He was a good mentor for me. He loved athletics and his grandchildren. I got to coach his granddaughter, Libby McKinney. He gave me tips after the game in the hallway.”
Westfall went on, “I also coached his granddaughters, Hannah and Claire, and he went to the basketball games where I was at. He was a joy and will be greatly missed. He wrote my dad letters, and he’s 91. Carol [Funderburg’s] widow said he was working on basketball stuff a week before he passed to help us for next year. I have to go out there and get that. Bill’s son, Bill, is probably the best basketball player I’ve ever seen in my 39 years of coaching. He went on to Wittenberg. His grandson, Bill’s son, is one of the best golfers in Westerville.”
“Bill was a friend, a great human being and patriarch to amazing family, daughters, son and their spouses. Carol, his widow is equally good and kind, and they all offered incredible positive to the community,” remarked Paul Wood.
Here are some more messages from the funeral home site for him:
“I have fond memories of visiting the farm during elementary school and junior high,” wrote Jana Batten Maldonado of Lewis Center, Ohio. “Bill and Carol always made us feel like part of the family.”
Darrell Anderson of West Lafayette, Indiana, wrote on the obituary site: “I will never forget the four-page, handwritten letter he gave me when I assumed the duties of Yorkshire executive secretary in 1987. What he probably didn’t realize was, that it was still on my desk when I left the office after 25 years on the job. I often read it to remind myself of Bill’s suggestions and recommendations for me. I probably spoke with Bill on the phone more than any other board member during my time there. He was truly an icon in the Yorkshire business and impacted many lives.”
“I always looked forward each year to making the journey to Greenville and getting our pigs from Bill,” remarked Bo Dupler of Sego,Ohio. “He treated us with such kindness and generosity.”
Duane Davis of Huntington, Indiana, commented, “I purchased my first herd board from Bill. I really enjoyed the years of knowing and competing with Bill and Yorkshire hogs. He truly influenced many young 4-Hers and breeders through judging and showing. He was certainly one of a kind and will be greatly missed.”
“I really enjoyed visiting with him and talking Yorkshire pigs,” stated Maynard of Hogberg of Ames, Iowa. “He left a major imprint on the Yorkshire breed and had a huge impact on many young breeders. I know his family was extremely important to him.”
Rob and Lisa Besecker of Greenville had this to say, “Darke County has lost a great mind and a great man.”
“I will miss Bill very much,” wrote Danielle Lavy of Greenville. “He always kept me on my toes in the pig barn, giving me a hard time with a smile on his face the whole time.”
Jack and Gloria Horner of Greenville sent this message, “Oh, did he like to tease me. I will miss this from him. Bill was a kind man and would do anything for you when needed. He loved the Lord, was a good husband, father and did he love his grandchildren so much and that little great one too! Love going to all the kids’ sports events, also at the Darke County Fair for the grandkids and their pigs.”
“I knew him most of my life and had the opportunity to work for him and Carol at Twin Pine Farms during high school and when home from college,” said Greg Wilson of Powell, Ohio. “That experience in some ways helped guide me as a young man. Bill was also the master of the no-look pass in church league basketball. That taught me very quickly how to pay attention.”
This writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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