Arlo Funk, the man who headed the Mineral County School District for a quarter century, was honored by the district at a pie social to celebrate the dedication of the Arlo K. Funk District Services Center named in his honor.
About 50 people crammed into the Adult Education room of the recently renamed building Dec. 19, chatting and sharing memories of Funk’s tenure.
Funk came to the district in 1961. He stopped for gas, decided to stay, and took a job as a principal. Five years later, he was appointed superintendent, and served as the district’s head executive until 1991.
Funk served with a total of 53 board members, and oversaw the graduation of more than 2,000 students.
“And when he was done, he wasn’t done,” said superintendent Chris Schultz. “He stayed here. He continued to be part of this district and this community. He doesn’t do it with a lot of fanfare, he just shows up.”
Schultz made brief speeches to open and close the event. In between the speeches, a parade of men and women remembered what it was like to work and learn under Funk’s guidance.
They told stories of triumph and difficulty; of arguments and half-forgotten pranks.
Keith Nevile, school board member, met Funk in 1970, when Funk hired him without an interview.
“I don’t know what the heck was wrong with him,” Nevile joked. “I would have interviewed me.”
Nevile went on to recall the many arguments he and Funk had — which Funk always won — and one of the rare occasions on which Nevile got the better of his beloved boss.
Nevile was coating the roof of one of the district schools with an explosive chemical when Funk came to supervise, smoking a pipe. Nevile chased him away, but before long, Funk returned.
The superintendent climbed a metal ladder to the roof.
“I didn’t know whether or not he took that first pipe incident seriously, so on the way up — you know he always wears a white shirt—on the way up I painted the steps with a gray coat,” Nevile remembered. “And he came up on that roof, and he didn’t have his pipe, but he had gray stripes all down his shirt.”
Nevile also said Funk was the only administrator he knew to take an active role in the sports teams.
Funk rode the bus to the state championship with the team one year and, when it won, the team gave him a championship jacket.
“The kids loved him for that,” Nevile said.
Donna Glazier, board clerk, was one of Funk’s board members. She remembered the way he conducted the district’s business.
“It was just a real pleasure working with Arlo,” she said. “He always had our budget intact, everybody respected him, and it was just an honor working with you all those years, Arlo.”
Some who had never worked with funk spoke of his legacy.
“Arlo left a legacy at the school district that lasted so long because of what he insisted from every staff member, was really a high level of professionalism,” said Kathy Trujillo, who was hired as the superintendent’s secretary after Funk’s retirement. “And even today we notice he wears his shirt and his tie, and so he still exudes that professionalism.”
Trujillo said to this day she never leaves her desk a moment before 5 p.m., in honor of Funk. Even though she never worked under him directly, she calls the waning moments of the day “Arlo Funk time”.
Walt Hackford, principal of Schurz Elementary School, also never worked with Funk, but feels his influence on the district on a near daily basis.
“In all the years I have been here, I’ve seen him at board meetings, he’s been subbing at the high school, he’s always got his interests in the school district,” Hackford said. “Never once have I heard anybody say a bad word against Arlo in all the years he’s put in here.”
But most remembered his mentorship.
“Arlo set an example, and some of my friends and I were talking about it just the other day,” said John Madreso, one of Funk’s students. “And without realizing it we all lived to achieve the standard.”