The Rev. Frank A. Funair V of Penn Hills was a determined, inspiring and compassionate person, who poured his heart into spreading the love of God and helping others, said his wife, Kerry Funair.
Rev. Funair, who was pastor of the World Outreach Church in Penn Hills, an English teacher and wrestling coach in the Penn Hills School District, died Dec. 25 from a heart attack at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville. He was 54.
“It was all about being gracious and honorable to people,” said Ms. Funair. “He wanted to leave the door open for people to come back to him if they needed him [and] he touched more people one on one with prayer than anyone I’ve ever known.”
But Rev. Funair was also a complex person. Born in Johnsonburg, Elk County, he was an avid athlete who played football and track but showed a particular interest in wrestling. He was a district wrestling champion in high school in 1979 and continued to love the sport, even after being injured while wrestling for a year in college.
“He loved wrestling and he planned to retire from teaching and just be a pastor and a wrestling coach in a year or two,” Ms. Funair said.
After graduating from high school in 1980, Rev. Funair attended Slippery Rock University, where he met his future wife in 1981. Ms. Funair said that he was a man of decision; he proposed to her the second day after they met.
“He said ‘you’re the woman of my dreams. God brought you to me. Will you marry me in five years?’ and we got married four and a half years later,” Ms. Funair said.
Rev. Funair received a degree in secondary education-English in 1984, and, after he completed his graduate assistantship, he and his wife moved to Connecticut in 1985, where he worked for the Department of Mental Retardation.
Tending to severely physically challenged patients shaped his compassion and propelled Rev. Funair to become a foster parent to Richard Collins, a 43-year-old man with Down syndrome. The couple fostered Mr. Collins for eight years until his death in 1994.
Being a foster parent taught Rev. Funair how to be a teacher and break things down into simple parts, which subsequently shaped his career as a teacher and eventually a pastor, his wife said.
“He always felt the call of God all his life,” Ms. Funair said, and in 1998 the couple moved to Tulsa, Okla., to attend the Domata School of Missions and Rhema Bible Training School. Rev. Funair earned a degree in 2001 and two years later he and his wife moved back to Pittsburgh.
Resuming his teaching career, Rev. Funair started a job as an English teacher at Linton Middle School in Penn Hills, a position he held until his death. He was also a wrestling coach for one year. “He was a very intelligent person. He studied the mechanics of wrestling,” said his longtime friend William Watrous.
But although teaching was his gift, being a pastor was his calling and in 2006 Rev. Funair founded the World Outreach Church, a nondenominational church in Penn Hills.
According to his close friend Ramona Parker, Rev. Funair wanted people to experience God for themselves. “I’ve never met a more godly man,” she said.
Rev. Funair was “all-in” kind of person, said Mr. Watrous, and inspired a stronger desire in him to serve people by being a good Christian.
In addition to his wife, Rev. Funair is survived by his mother, Judy Carlson of Missouri; three brothers, Patrick Funair of Texas, Mark Funair of Arizona and Steven Funair; and a sister, Patricia Roberts of Maryland.
Funeral arrangements were by Parzynski Funeral Home & Cremations, Belle Vernon. Interment was at Belle Vernon Cemetery.
Dana Cizmas: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1719.