Created on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 20:00
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2008 08:08
Richard Funkhouser, 90, Career Foreign Service Officer and oil expert, died May 15, 2008, in Washington, D.C.
Funkhouser entered the diplomatic service following WW II as an oil expert, having worked as a geologist for Shell Oil Company domestically and Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey overseas. He served successively in Paris as Regional Petroleum Attache for Western Europe and North Africa, in Cairo as Regional Petroleum Officer for the Middle East, and in Washington as petroleum adviser to George McGhee, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Funkhouser played a pivotal role in developing the 50-50 profit-sharing concession contracts which endured unchanged in the Middle East for many years.
Funkhouser served as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon desk officer in 1953, followed successively by assignments to the National War College, Deputy Chief of Mission in Bucharest, head of the political and economic sections in Damascus, Russian language training in Washington and Oberammergau, Counselor for Economic Affairs in Moscow, Political Affairs Counselor in Paris, Ambassador in Libreville (Gabon), Deputy CORDS in Military Region III at Ben Hoa (Vietnam), Policy Planning Staff in Washington, and Consul General in Edinburgh (Scotland).
Following retirement from the Department of State in 1975, he became International Affairs Advisor to Texas Eastern Corporation, resident in Scotland. His government and industry papers are deposited at the Oil and Gas Institute, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
On return to Washington in 1980, he was appointed Director of International Affairs in EPA and subsequently consultant to the Department of Education. Funkhouser's last position was Director of International Activities, Young Astronaut Council, a nonprofit educational organization in Washington, D.C.
Funkhouser was born in Trenton, N.J., September 1917, son of Dr. Edgar Bright Funkhouser, a pioneer psychiatrist who studied under Dr. Freud in Europe, and Evelyn Hayes. He attended Taft School and Princeton University where he graduated summa cum laude in 1939 and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and of Sigma Xi, the Honorary Scientific Research Association.
Following Pearl Harbor, Funkhouser volunteered for the Army Air Corps and became a pilot in the China-Burma-India Theater. For flying 302 missions in combat areas and dropping men and supplies behind Japanese lines on detail to the OSS Detachment 101, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Burma Star (UK) and Chinese Air Medal.
In Vietnam, 1970-72, Funkhouser served as civilian deputy to Lt. General Michael Davison in Military Region Three with the military equivalent rank of Major General and was awarded the Republic of Vietnam's National Defense Medal.
Funkhouser married Phyllis Parkin of Clayton, Missouri, March 4, 1944, and established residence in Georgetown after the war. He served as a governor of DACOR, the retired diplomats club, and was a member of the Metropolitan and Chevy Chase Clubs. An ardent golfer, he was a member of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, and Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. He was an Honorary Trustee of the Scottish Civic Trust.
Survivors include his son Bruce Bedford Funkhouser of Seattle, WA, his daughter Blaine Laskowski of Waitsfield, VT, and two grandchildren. His first son, Phillip Hayes Funkhouser, an honor student at St. Albans, was killed in an automobile accident in Buffalo, WY, in 1961. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Phillip Hayes Funkhouser Memorial Scholarship Fund at St. Albans School, Mount St. Albans, Washington, D.C. 20016.
Phyllis Parkin Funkhouser
Phyllis Parkin Funkhouser, wife of Richard Funkhouser, former career Foreign Service Officer and Ambassador to Gabon, died May 15, 2008, in Washington, D.C. at the age of 84.
Mrs. Funkhouser was the daughter of Blaine Parkin, owner of the Parkin Laundry Machinery Company of St. Louis, MO, and Frances Ruth Sutton of Maysville, KY. She attended the University of Colorado, the American Universities of Cairo and Beirut, and Georgetown University. She raised her family, made homes, and supported her husband at diplomatic assignments to successively Paris, Cairo, Bucharest, Damascus, Moscow, Paris, Libreville (Gabon), Ben Hoa (Vietnam) and Edinburgh (Scotland).
During Washington assignments she worked at the Red Cross, The Citizens Association of Georgetown and Georgetown University Hospital. A gourmet cook, she was in Julia Child's first class in Paris. Mrs. Funkhouser was considered by her peers to be a beautiful woman of "taste, wit, common sense and natural authority." She suffered silently through her adult life from severe head and spinal injuries from a plane crash in Rome, 1948, and survived a massive brain hemorrhage in 1990.
Survivors include her son, Bruce Bedford Funkhouser of Seattle, WA, her daughter Blaine Laskowski of Waitsfield, VT, and two grandchildren. Her first son, Phillip Hayes Funkhouser, an honor student at St. Albans, was killed in an automobile accident in Buffalo, WY, in 1961. Memorial donations may be made to the Phillip Hayes Funkhouser Memorial Scholarship Fund at St. Albans School, Mount St. Albans, Washington, D.C. 20016.
"Wheresoever she was, there was Eden." (Mark Twain's "Diaries of Adam and Eve")