Wallie Funk, a “walking encyclopedia of Anacortes history” who’s done so much to shape that history, preserve it and chronicle it in words and pictures, was in the middle of things once more when the community celebrated his 90th birthday with him Sunday afternoon at the Depot.
It was an inspiring salute to an Anacortes icon complete with hundreds of photos from his collection, best wishes, thank yous and gifts from leaders of many organizations he has supported over the decades.
More than 150 people packed the Depot to enjoy the historic day and hear again how Funk had championed organizations, events and educational facilities such as the Anacortes Arts Festival, the Museum of Northwest Art and the marine manufacturing and technology center here.
Rep. Rick Larsen made a surprise appearance, leading emcee Duncan Frazier to quip, “You’ve still got the juice, Wallie.”
Indeed he does. The afternoon was another reminder of his many contributions to journalism, the arts, historic preservation — and causes that made his “underdog” Anacortes community a better place.
His impact was sudden when he became co-owner and editor of the Anacortes American in 1950, and it continued when he went to Whidbey Island and the Whidbey News Times and then returned to Anacortes.
Mayor Dean Maxwell, who called Funk a walking encyclopedia, saluted him for continuing to give back to his community.
Theresa Trebon, who worked to organize the photos in the Wallie V. Funk Collection, narrated a presentation that intertwined the history of Anacortes and Funk’s life.
“You’ve given us the evidence to see how quickly things change,” she said, referring to his stunning collection of photographs, “and you help us remember to work for the greater good.”
The Anacortes Museum presented Funk with a replica of the flag the city received and flew at Causland Memorial Park for being honored with a 1962 All-America City award from the National Municipal League and Look magazine. Funk nominated the city for the award and was a leader in the drive to win it.
The new flag may fly at the park this month — 50 years after the original was unfurled.
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