Our History

Our History of Service Since 1865

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Funk Funeral Home, the oldest ongoing funeral establishment in Bristol, Connecticut, has a long and vibrant history. The growing operation was moved in 1867 to the first floor of the old Town Hall Building at the corner of Main and South Elm Street (now the Wallace Barnes parking lot). The building was formerly known as Crinoline Hall, as it had been the center of the nation's hoop skirt-making business for several years.

Funk's advertised in the very first Bristol Press on March 9, 1871: "FURNITURE at C. FUNCK & SON'S also UNDERTAKING."

Funk's continued to thrive, resulting in further expansion in 1884 when the block housing the former Odd Fellows Building was erected at the corner of Main and South Elm.

Funck Block

Still another move came in 1889 when the Funck Block was built on Prospect Street on land acquired from the Episcopal Church Society. The four-story building was a mammoth venture for a Bristol enterprise, but it still wasn't large enough to house the funeral operation, which remained on lower Main Street for several decades.

After more than 40 years at South Elm and Main, the undertaking business moved in 1930 to Prospect Street to be housed alongside the parent firm when an addition to the building was erected. The businesses were operated alongside each other on Prospect Street until 1940, when the funeral home moved to its present site, the former George W. Mitchell house, which had been built on Bellevue Avenue in 1873.

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Christian Funck,
Founder
1865 - 1888

Christian Funck and his family arrived in Brooklyn at a time when immigration from Germany was just beginning. It was the Irish who crowded the docks of New York in the middle of the 19th Century. Funck arrived in Castle Garden, New York, and immediately enrolled his children, ranging in age from three to 13, in school. He quickly put his skill as a cabinetmaker to work and earned the respect of his community for his fine craftsmanship.

Funck was born in Neuhaus, Hanover in Germany on April 9, 1810 and served his apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker there. He was married in 1831 to Johanna Stamm, and their six children were all born in Germany. He came to the United States in 1846 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1852 after renouncing "all fidelity and loyalty to any sovereign, particularly the King of Hanover." "King of Hanover" was inked in on his naturalization papers after crossing out the name of the Queen of England and Ireland, which was pre-printed on naturalization papers of the era.

While working in the Ingraham shop, Funck began making furniture in his spare time and was soon ready to open his own shop. In 1865, with his son Augustus, who had just been released from a Confederate prison at Florence, South Carolina, he incorporated C. Funck and Son and opened his first shop at Doolittle's Corner, now better known as the Maple End.

Furniture of the time was entirely handmade and Christian's skill and his son's business acumen soon made the fledgling business a success. At about the same time, the company entered into the secondary business of cabinetmakers of the era - undertaking. Coffins were made to order upon death at the time, and it was a logical extension of the furniture business to make coffins. The first funeral recorded in the ledgers of the Funck Funeral Home was that of Mr. Eddy, for which the sum of $27 was paid in October 1865.

According to legend, the Funck firm actually entered into the undertaking business when a stranger passing through town was hit by a train at Doolittle's Crossing, and for lack of a better place, the body was brought into Funck's nearby store where a coffin was made. Christian Funck enjoyed considerable success in his business and in 1867 moved to the corner of Main and South Elm Street and then a year later to the Town Hall. By 1886, the firm was ready to begin construction of a new four-story building on Prospect Street. Although Christian Funck died before it was completed, the firm which he founded in 1865, now assimilated by the Bristol Furniture Store, continues to occupy that building today.

Christian Funck died on Nov. 14, 1888 at the age of 78, but some of his work remains. Original pieces hand-made by him still exist today, among them a hat rack now standing at the entrance to the Funk Funeral Home on Bellevue Avenue.


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Augustus H. Funck, 
President
1888 - 1911

Augustus H. Funck was born in Neuhaus, Hanover, in Germany on July 22, 1836 to Christian and Johanna Funck. He gained his early education in Germany, coming to United States with his parents at the age of 10 in 1846 and to Bristol three years later.

He enrolled in school in this country during the winter months, working summers after his arrival in Bristol on the farm of Lockwood Tuttle in Burlington. From his father, he learned the skills of carpentry and cabinet making and in 1851 took a job with the Brewster and Ingraham Clock Company until 1855.

In that year, following the young man's instinct to travel, he accompanied his brother William to Minnesota and worked with him as a carpenter for five years. He returned to Bristol in the fall of 1860 and continued in the carpentry trade with Edward Hall until he answered the call to arms on his 26th birthday, July 22, 1862.

Augustus H. Funck and his brother Henry enlisted in Company K, 16th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, which was organized in August 1862. Moving quickly to the front in the Union cause, Funck distinguished himself as a good soldier. He was injured in the foot at Antietam but recovered to join his company in battles throughout the South until the capture in North Carolina in 1864. He spent four months at Andersonville and five more in the prison at Florence, South Carolina, where his brother Henry died.

The horrors of Andersonville and Florence weighed heavily on him. He spent several months in rest and recuperation before entering into the furniture and undertaking business with his father at the firm incorporated in Octocber 1865 as C. Funck and Son.

Augustus H. Funck held several other positions in Bristol while he served as head of its largest furniture store. In 1871, he was appointed at a Town Meeting as keeper of the Forestville jail, a position he held for several years. He was an active member of the Masons and the G.W. Thompson Post 13, GAR and played an active role in the Trinity Episcopal Church, where he served over the years in the capacity of vestryman, treasurer and senior warden.

Shortly before his death in 1911, Augustus Funck instituted a legal name change, dropping the letter "c" from the family and firm name to prevent mischievous corruption of the company name by less than savory characters who hung around the railroad depot across the street.

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George J. Funk
President
1911-1933

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Emil H. Funk
President
1933-1946

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Louis E. Funk
President
1946-1957

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Augustus G. Funk
President
1957-1980

Three of his sons George J., Emil H., and Louis E. Funk continued at the leadership of the firm through the first half of the 20th Century until the company merged with Bristol Furniture in 1962. The undertaking business also continued to prosper and by 1950 had become a separate business.

Emil Funk took over the business upon George's death in 1933. A third brother, Louis Funk, headed the firm after Emil's death in 1946, but he resigned in 1952. Augustus G. "Gus" Funk, secretary and treasurer for many years, then became president and treasurer. However, a major change had come about on Sept. 30, 1946, when the joint furniture-funeral operation was divided into two distinctly separate corporations, the C. Funk and Son Furniture Store, Inc. and the C. Funk and Son Funeral Home, Inc.

For several years after the move to Bellevue Avenue, the Funk family lived upstairs and operated the funeral business downstairs.

Chapel Built - 1960

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In 1960, construction of a sizable chapel area seating 100 was started in a major expansion project. The chapel could now accommodate 100 people. Other areas of the funeral home were also remodeled. In 1963, the Funk Block and the complete inventory of the Funk Furniture Co. was purchased by Joseph I. Bassett, president of Bristol Furniture Company. Gus Funk relinquished his interest in the furniture store to devote full-time attention to the funeral home.

Funk is just now completing another renovation project started two years ago. The chapel area and all six downstairs rooms were given an interior "facelift" in Williamsburg tones, and a new private family room was established. Nevertheless, several items of Christian Funck's craftsmanship, maintaining ties with the past, are on display today at the funeral home, including a cherry drop-leaf tavern table and an oak table, melodeon desk, black walnut chair and a costumer, or coat rack.

1980 - Present

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In 1980, Ronald F. Duhaime along with his wife Emilie, purchased Funk's and has maintained the high ethical standards and business practices that the Bristol community has come to know from Funk's. Their son Christopher J. Duhaime joined his parents in 1987 upon graduating from the New England Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, Boston, Massachusetts.

Between 1980 and 1984, the Duhaimes purchased adjoining property and expanded the parking lot, and in 1984 they built a large addition to the funeral home, which can accommodate up to 150 people, to complement the other spacious areas.

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Ronald F. Duhaime
Senior Funeral Director
1980-Present

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Emilie P. Duhaime
Funeral Director
1980-Present

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Christopher J.  Duhaime
Managing Partner
1985-Present

In 1990, the Duhaimes purchased the Duhaime Funeral Home, which was located at 250 West St., Bristol. The Duhaime Funeral Home was established by Ron's parents, Edgar F. and Dorothy M. Duhaime in 1950. The Duhaime business was moved to the Funk location at Bellevue Ave. and continues to operate today.

In 1996, the Duhaime family affiliated with Carriage Services of Connecticut, a small group of high-quality/first-class funeral homes. By doing so, the Duhaime‚Äôs obtained stock ownership in Carriage Services giving them access to extensive resources and support while continuing to maintain their independent operation of the business.

Since 1996, there have been remodeling and renovation projects to the facility, along with an additional land purchase to double the size of their parking lot. With the expanded parking facility, a six passenger cart was purchased to accommodate the handicapped and elderly. "Our hallmark is our service, and we must continue to provide world class service to the families that we are honored to serve," said Christopher Duhaime. In 2009, for the comfort of our families, we installed a full service generator which will accommodate our full facility in case of loss of power, and in 2010, we upgraded our fleet with all new 2010 Cadillacs.

© 2017 Funk Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved.