George M. Funk

June 11, 1956 - May 05, 2017
George M. Funk,  June 11, 1956 - May 05, 2017

George Michael Funk, a custom builder and retail business owner who lived in Montauk for nearly 20 years, died at home in Vero Beach, Fla., on May 5. He was 60 years old. The cause was heart failure, brought on by an aneurysm, said his son, Trevor Funk of Vero Beach and Montauk.

Born in West Babylon on June 11, 1956, to the former Mary Moore and George Charles Funk, he graduated from high school there and later attended the State University at Delhi.

He and the former Sandra Suddeth were married in 1981. That year, the couple moved to Montauk so that Mr. Funk, a devoted surfer who grew up on the beaches of Long Island’s South Shore, could pursue his passion in an environment he loved.

According to his former wife, Mr. Funk partnered with a friend from UpIsland, Craig Lieder, who now owns Sunset Surf Shack in Montauk, to open a surf store called Sunwear, at the present location of Plaza Sports on Montauk’s Main Street. For a few years, they ran a second store in East Hampton, and at that time, he designed a line of surfboards with Mr. Lieder under the name New Range.

“George was just such an amazing man, calm mannered, always happy, and his love to surf beyond recognition,” said Diane Griffin of Ava, N.Y., a former surf shop employee who would “never forget Hurricane Gloria, when he and Craig went out and surfed it. We all waited at Surfside Inn while they got one ride from there to Gurney’s.”

In the late 1980s, Mr. Funk partnered with Paul Davis of Montauk to start a residential construction business called Under Construction. Mr. Funk went on to build many houses in the hamlet, including those he lived in on South Greenfield Drive and South Fairview Avenue.

After separating from his wife, Mr. Funk moved to Vero Beach about 10 years ago. There, he continued to build houses under the name GMF Custom Builders. In part, he relocated to Florida to provide better opportunity for his then teenage son, an accomplished baseball pitcher who considered a professional career under the guidance of his father, said his former wife. Mr. Funk took an immense pride in his son’s accomplishments, with a particularly active interest in the realm of athletics, she said.

As he grew closer to retirement in Florida, Mr. Funk enjoyed golfing and tinkering with classic cars, including a 1970 Porsche 911 he had bought last year, said his son.

In December of 2014, he married Christine Larson Ross, who lives in Vero Beach. In addition to his son, he is survived by two sisters, Jackie Thorpe of Bellview, Fla., and Debra Funk of Ocala, Fla. His parents died before him.

A memorial service was held in Vero Beach on May 11. His family suggested memorial contributions to the Surfrider Foundation, online at surfrider.org, or to the American Heart Association.