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.