Professional wrestler and former superintendent and football coach at Boys Ranch, Dory Funk Sr. died early Sunday at, St. Anthony's Hospital after suffering an apparent heart attack at his home near Umbarger. He was 54. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the First Methodist, Church in Canyon. The Rev. J. Frank Peery, pastor, will officiate. Burial will be in Dreamland Cemetery under the direction of LaGrone Funeral Chapel. Funk was a native of Indiana and came to Amarillo as a professional wrestler in 1949. From 1950 until 1953 he was superintendent at Boys Ranch and coached the Boys Ranch football team. After leaving Boys Ranch he continued his wrestling career. Two of his sons, Dory Jr. and Terry, have followed in his footsteps as wrestlers, and Dory Jr. is the only Texan to hold the world championship belt. Survivors are his wife, Betty; four sons, Dory Jr. of Amarillo and Terry of Canyon and Bobby and Dony, both of the Umbarger home; a daughter, Doree, of the home; a brother, Herman Funk of Amarillo; a sister, Dr. Dorothy Warbloe of Hammond, Ind.; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adam Funk of Ruskin, Fla.; and five grandchildren.
He grew up in Hammond, Ind., and was an all-around athlete. He turned to professional wrestling following World War II. Funk received his greatest satisfaction while serving at Boys Ranch. The late Cal Farley founded Boys Ranch in 1939. Farley also had come to Amarillo as a wrestler. His life was told in a book entitled, "A Shirttail To Hang To." Farley gave Dory credit for saving Boys Ranch in 1950. A bunch of the older boys were in a state of revolt and had threatened to throw the superintendent into the Canadian River. Farley begged Dory to take over for a few months. Funk was on trial the first day. He invited some of the tough boys to work out with him on the mat. The boys found out in a hurry that Dory could handle the situation. Dory also coached the football team and all other sports. He planned to stay three months, but stayed three years. Another great tribute to Dory Funk Sr. is his two sons, Dory Jr. and Terry. I'm sure Dory Sr. was a stern father, but no one ever raised two finer young men. It was the dream of Dory Sr. for one of his sons to win the world wrestling championship. Dory Jr. not only won the world championship, but finished Gene Kiniski with a spinning toe hold, which was introduced by Dory Sr. Terry also has been a successful wrestler. Both boys were standout football players at West Texas State. Some of my most pleasant memories are of the times Dory Funk Sr. would drop by this newspaper office for visits late at night. He was sharp on many subjects. I'll never forget the TV shows Dory Sr. used to have on Sundays. He ribbed himself about receiving an award from Interstate Theaters. Dory Sr. said he received the award because his TV show put more people back in the theaters. Dory Sr. used to belittle my football guesses on his TV show. Dory Sr. used to make his picks after the games had been played and say that is the way he selected. I didn't have a chance. Dory Sr. helped many people and many organizations that few people ever knew anything about. There's no telling how much he contributed to Boys Ranch. He bought toys and things like that for children in hospitals and homes. Dory Funk Sr. was a family figure walking down the streets in his colorful clothes. He had a swagger in his walk. Most everyone was saying, "There's Dory Funk Sr." Many people are saying today, "Dory Funk Sr. was a good guy. " And when it's all said and done, what better tribute can you receive from your fellow man?
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