William Herbert Funchess, Jr.

  • Born: November 8, 1927
  • Died: June 10, 2021
  • Location: Clemson, South Carolina

Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Crematory

108 Cross Creek Road
Central, SC 29630

Tel. (864) 639-2411

Tribute & Message From The Family

William H. Funchess, Jr., 93, widower of Sybil Holladay Funchess passed away Thursday, June 10, 2021 at his home in Clemson.

Bill was born in Rowesville, SC, a son of the late William Herbert Funchess, Sr. and the late Daisy Inabinet Funchess Williams. He was a graduate of Orangeburg High School and received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agronomy from Clemson University. He was a member of the following honorary and professional fraternaties: Phi Kappa Phi, Gama Sigma Delta and Epsilon Sigma Phi.

He served as First Lieutenant with the 24th Infantry Division and was among the first combat troops sent to Korea upon the outbreak of hostilities in 1950. He was later hit by machinegun fire, was captured by the Chinese Communists Army and was held as a Prisoner of War for 34 months. While a P.O.W. he was falsely accused by the communists of being a war criminal and was released alone on the final day of the P.O.W. exchange in 1953. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and two purple hearts for wounds received in battle.

Upon separation from the army in 1954, Mr. Funchess was employed by the Clemson University Extension Service and served as assistant County Agent in Edgefield County and later in Richland County. In 1960 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents for his accomplishment in Allendale County.

He was transferred to the Clemson University campus in 1970 and was promoted to the position of District Agent where he supervised Extension personnel and programs in one third of the state. He also held the academic rank of Associate Professor in the Agronomy Department.

In 1997 he authored a book, Korea P.O.W-A Thousand Days of Torment which told of some of his Korea experiences. In 2002 he was awarded the Palmetto Cross, the highest award given by the South Carolina Military Department, In 2007 the Department of Navy advised Mr. Funchess they were using portions of his book and VHS tape in the teaching of their escape and evasion course. In 2015 Bill was awarded the prestigious "Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal", an award given by the South Carolina Military Department and the South Carolina Military Museum to honor our State's Korean War veterans.

In 2018 he was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor bestowed on citizens of South Carolina. He was also a 2018 Inductee to Clemson University Lever Hall of Fame. He was invited to the Medal of Honor Ceremony at the White House for Chaplain Emil Kapaun in Washington, DC.

He is survived by a son, Mark H. (Jane) Funchess of Central; daughters, Carol (Steve Addis) Funchess of Six Mile, SC and Janet Funchess (Jimmy) Anderson of Dahlonega, GA; sisters, Alice Frances Asbill of Lexington, SC and Elaine Meyers of Wilmington, NC; grandchildren, Carson Mark Funchess, Montana Caroline Morgan, Ryan Mitchell (Savannah) Bley, William Chandler Heriot, Ashley Marie (Kevin) Gift, James Cameron Heriot and John Connor Heriot.

In addition to his wife and parents, Bill was predeceased by his granddaughter, Jo Holladay Funchess; and brother, Maynard Funchess.

Funeral services will be 2 PM, Monday, June 14, 2021 in the chapel of Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home with burial with military honors to follow in Old Stone Church Cemetery in Clemson, SC.

The family will receive friends from 12:30 to 1:50 PM, Monday prior to the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the South Carolina Military Museum, #1 National Guard Road, Columbia, SC 29201.

Click the play button in the video player below to watch the service.

Visit RobinsonFuneralHomes.com or Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Cremations, Central-Clemson Commons.


Condolence & Memory Journal


Bill, I will miss you! My compadre! You were sent in first to S. Korea (1950). I was at the very tail end in 1975-76. We shared pictures and stories about what it looked like in the villages. Nothing had changed You have been an inspiration to so many. May the angels carry you to meet the Lord. He is pleased. God Bless you, Bill! My condolences to the family, especially to Carol. You are in my thoughts!

Posted by Nancy Gee - Clemson, SC - Friend   July 11, 2021

The Funchesses and the Tutens became friends in Edgefield, SC, in the 1950s. Both families grew and moved to different places in the state, but remained friends over the years. We were saddened to hear about Mr Funchess, but glad to know that he is now with The Savior. We hope it is comforting in remembering his security in Christ and we hope it is comforting to know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of friends.
Our condolences,
Curtis, Bill and Bob Tuten
(and the rest of the Tuten family)

Posted by Bob Tuten - LIBERTY, SC - Friend   June 20, 2021

I will miss my friend. Thank you for posting the video of the service. I was so nervous to speak, but I tried to honor my friend in the best way I could. He is a true hero to so many and will NEVER be forgotten.

Posted by Ken Scar - Seneca, SC - Friend   June 18, 2021

What a legacy. I am awestruck by this mans life, example, service and I know next to nothing about him. Thank you for your service to our country, for all of us. God bless you and your family. Rest In Peace.

Posted by Mary LaFayette Simmons    June 14, 2021

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

Posted by Colonel Rick Simmons - Friend   June 14, 2021

I am so sorry to hear about Mr Funchess! I have many fond memories of him and the family as friends and coworkers with my father Luther Anderson. He was an amazing person, and I know he will be greatly missed.

Posted by Pam Anderson Chumley - Friend   June 14, 2021

On behalf of the Clemson Corps, we send our condolences on your loss. First Lt Funchess made an impact on Clemson's military history in many different ways through-out the years, with the most recent being when he spoke at the Clemson University ROTC POW/MIA day ceremonies. In his honor we have donated to the SC Military History Museum.

-Chair, Clemson Corps Board of Directors

Posted by Mike Mendonca - SC   June 14, 2021

Bill was a fellow agronomist and extension worker, and his accomplishments are many in working with farmers and agribusiness. He had an easy-going style that made working with him a pleasure. I only learned later of his heroism in war and treasure our relationship after retirement. His book chronicles the many challenges he faced as a POW, and forever stamps his title of American hero. May his family find peace in knowing that Bill touched the lives of so many.

Posted by Jim Palmer - Friend   June 14, 2021

William and Sybil had the same wedding anniversary as us and we had the4 pleasure of sharing the day with them. I am proud to claim him as one of my extended cousins.
Tom Hayden

Posted by Tom Hayden - Clemson, SC - Family   June 13, 2021

Another great American soldier and Clemson Alumnus now rests in heavenly glory as God's newest angel. One can only imagine how grueling the Korean War was for American's finest and being a POW brought even more unimaginable pain to those honorable patriotic soles. May God's merciful grace and loving hand guide each family member as they long remember the sterling and everlasting legacy of this American hero. "Where the Blue Ridge yawns its greatness, where the Tigers play.........." A final salute is hereby rendered! Earl Hansford Grubbs, CU 67 and retired Army Officer

Posted by Earl Hansford Grubbs - Served in Military together   June 13, 2021

I'm sorry to hear of your loss and will pray for your family during these difficult times.

Posted by Wes McCaskill - Easley, SC - Friend   June 12, 2021

I had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. Funchess when I worked with him in the District Extension Office at Clemson back in the 70's. He was a a gentleman and always was willing to help the farmer(s) and other Extension Agents whenever or however he could. His fortitude and bravery during his captivity is admirable and quite a story. The Extension Service was fortunate to have a man like him serving the citizens of this state. To his family, I send deep condolences; he loved his family and country deeply - a true hero in my estimation. The world and country is a better place for his life and service. ... Mary S. Harvey

Posted by Mary Harvey - Easley, SC - Coworker   June 12, 2021

Mr Funchess was one of the kindest, sweetest and most humble men I’ve ever known. He will be remembered with honor by so many, most of all for what he has done for our Country during the Korean War. His family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Rosemary Rhinehardt - Friend   June 12, 2021

I never had to pleasure of meeting William in person, but got to know him through working with the Father Kapaun Guild. William is one of my heroes and I will forever more miss him.

Posted by Carole Sklenar - Friend   June 12, 2021

We have many good memories of the Funchess family as friends and neighbors in Allendale. Prayers for Carol, Mark, Jan and your families.

Posted by Kathy and Walter Griffin - Columbia, SC   June 12, 2021

Our thoughts and Prayers are with the family! I was honored to be called a cousin to William Funchess and he will surely be missed, He was a great guy and loved his family! Lynda Robinson Rawl (Paul)

Posted by Lynda Robinson Rawl - Lexington, SC - Family   June 11, 2021

Family Album