Gwendolen Funston, Trenton, MI

Published 05/21 2014 08:50AM

Updated 05/21 2014 08:53AM

Gwendolen Funston, of Trenton, Michigan, died May 20, 2014, at Parkdale Manor, in Maryville, Missouri.

Gwen was born November 6, 1917, in Stamford, Nebraska, the daughter of Lila and Glen Lane, of Phillipsburg, Kansas.

Gwen was a graduate of Fort Hays State University. She and Robert Funston were married in 1938, and they continued their education, Gwen earning an MA in English; Robert received an MS in Chemistry in l941.

Following graduation, Gwen and Robert moved to Michigan with their young daughter, Erith Elane. Chanda Diane was born to Gwen and Robert in l942.

Gwen taught English both at Woodrow Wilson, Jr. High and Roosevelt High School, in Wyandotte. Robert was Chief Chemist for Wyandotte Chemicals, later bought by BASF.

Gwen was actively involved in teaching Great Books, World Literature Classes, and led Poets and Playwrights, a downriver writing group. In 2003, Gwen won the Downriver Artist of the Year and was honored for her readings and poetry publications.

In 2004, Gwen and her daughter Erith moved to Council Grove, Kansas where Gwen, again, led a writing group. Three years later, Gwen and Erith moved to Topeka, and Gwen participated in the Topeka Writers’ Group.

Gwen is best known not only for her red hair, but for her joy in writing and travel. She and her husband Robert visited England (several times), Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Africa, Russia, and China.

Gwen was an inspiration to many prospective writers because she taught with enthusiasm and humor. Her own poetry ranged from the whimsical, involving frogs, fairies, and stars, to deeper reflections on love, life, grieving, and death. Here's a poem addressed to her husband.

"I see beyond To a hallowed place Where Love reigns supreme, And your dear face Smiles upon me Through storm and strife Pain and death I come to thee, Beloved". GBF

She is survived by Chanda Diane Funston (daughter), retired Associate Professor of English at Northwest Missouri State University, Ardith Renee Woertz (granddaughter), Attorney at Law, in Topeka Kansas, and Eric Glen Smith (grandson),Supervisor of Structural Tests at Cessna, in Wichita, Kansas. Gwen had seven grandchildren.

Cards and condolences may be sent to 317 E. 13th Street. Memorial donations may be made to Fort Hays State University Foundation, Sierra Club, or Doctors Without Borders.

Cremation was completed under the direction of the Bram-Danfelt Funeral Home, Maryville, MO. For online condolences and guest book, visit

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