In Memoriam: Tom Funk, 1940-2019

On November 23, 2019, Tom Funk died after a brief and sudden illness.  Only a week before that he had, as usual, attended one of the club's monthly breakfast meetings.  Well known throughout the 356 community as the proprietor of 356 Works, the Chicago area's only restoration and maintenance shop dedicated exclusively to the Porsche 356, Tom was also a dedicated and enthusiastic participant in, and often the host of, Midwest 356 Club events.

Two club members who knew Tom well are Jeff Roseberry and Paul Masanek, who offer these memorials to their friend.

Tom Funk: More Than A 356 Guru, by Jeff Roseberry

Tom Funk fell in love with Porsches after years of driving Triumphs and his Dad’s 1961 XKE when Dad wasn’t looking.  Tom’s first Porsche was a Champagne Yellow 356 coupe that carried his family, daughters Kris and Amy, everywhere.  He later sold the coupe and bought the 1964 Cabriolet, restored it and kept it for the rest of his life.

I met Tom in 1983 through a mutual friend, and we became close friends.  Tom’s energy and zest for life created fun wherever he went.  He was not afraid of talking to anyone, and could sell refrigerators to Eskimos, thus his successful career in insurance sales.  Career success allowed Tom to focus on his passion for (and growing expertise in) Porsches.

Those reading this who have spent time with Tom will have experienced his charm, kindness, concern for others, and steadfast loyalty, once you got to know each other.  He turned 79 on September 26, 2019 and was enjoying his life.  His purchase that year of a Macan was the cherry on top, which brought him joy every day.

He kept in touch with his daughters and his grandchildren, including taking them out for birthdays and special occasions.  He expressed his love to each of them, and he was so proud of how well they are living their lives, and he would tell you so.

All who read this and knew Tom will know the loss his passing is to us.  Good friends are not common, so losing one as good as Tom is tough to take.

In January 1985, I bought my 1955 Speedster.  After inspecting it, Tom insisted that I had to buy it.  He was correct, and in the spring, he was there helping all the way, as we disassembled it in the driveway.  He promised me we could put it all back together again.  He researched every aspect, and would daily update me on what he learned and what we had to do next.  So, his first restoration was my car.  We went on to restore four more 356s together, including Jerry Schaub’s Super 90 Cab, which he bought at the factory.  Tom loved working on 356s, so he took over our shared garage, and started 356 Works.  He lived his passion and shared his joy in doing so.

Paul Masanek here.

Tom's passing is a shock, as he survived many of life's health episodes like a common cold.

Tom respected all of you, and I truly felt that when we grieved for the loss of friends Ron Goldstein, Bob Follmer and Warren Lezama.

As most of you know, I worked with Tom Funk for the last dozen or so years of his life.  I met Tom through Ron Felson.  Ron had his car restored through Tom and that was one of my first major projects at 356 Works.  Proudly (and a lot of work by Ron to campaign his car), we saw Ron's car win the Midwest PCA concours championship.  That was the first of many great cars we completed.

Tom was a Character, we had many great moments, fun dinners, and sometimes challenging situations (personally and otherwise).  I am blessed to have known and worked with Tom.

Tom was very steadfast in his beliefs, and that always made for interesting conversation.  I personally do not discuss politics, and so I heard a lot as Tom likely wanted to get my response and views.

Tom may not have considered himself a teacher, but I learned a lot from Tom.  Not only the 356, but appreciation for all of us, relationships, and those that desire to share our car experiences and drive our 356s.

Like all long term relationships, we had our ups and downs.  Normal, and I have nothing but fond memories.

He loved his Daughters, Grand Children, Friends, and Porsches.  In that order.

I am very sad to see Tom pass, and look forward to seeing him in the next life.