William Spurgeon Funderburg

April 5, 1923 - January 24, 2014
William Spurgeon Funderburg


William Spurgeon Funderburg, father of Joseph Edward “Skipper” Funderburg, left his earthly life on January 24, 2014 to be with God. He passed away at his home, Pumpkin Creek, Wilmington.

He was born April 5, 1923 in Wilmington, the son of John Braudaus Funderburg and Louise Niestle Funderburg in Wilmington.

A 1940 graduate of New Hanover High School, he entered service as an apprentice machinist at the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, Rocky Mount, NC. He joined the US Army in 1943 and faithfully served his country in World War II. He served as a technical sergeant with the US Army 741st Battalion, during the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. He was decorated with the US Army Triple Bronze Star, Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, European – African – Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

After World War II, he returned to service at the Atlantic Coastline Railroad, ascending to General Diesel Supervisor and Roundhouse Supervisor at Wilmington Headquarters. After retirement he founded Atlantic Terminal Company in Wilmington, a general contracting firm. He married his high school sweetheart, Claire Fergus Funderburg, and the happy couple lived in Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, where their two children were born and raised.

He is survived by his son Joseph Edward “Skipper” Funderburg and wife Shari Ann Funderburg; two grandchildren, Sarah Ruth Funderburg and Joseph William Funderburg all of Wilmington; and one brother in law, Lorenz Eugene Nissen of Wilmington.

He was preceded in death by his parents John Braudaus Funderburg and Louise Niestle Funderburg in Wilmington, sister Katherine Funderburg Nissen and two brothers Dr. John Braudaus Funderburg of Raleigh and Edward Lewis Funderburg of Wilmington. He was also preceded in death by his son William Spurgeon “Buddy” Funderburg, his wife Claire Fergus Funderburg, sister in law Margaret Keene Funderburg, and niece Susan Funderburg Poirier.

He is also survived by nieces Kathie Nissen Oppedahl (Knut), Christina Funderburg Thomas (George) and Mary Funderburg Moore (Eddie) ; nephew Dr. Larry W. Nissen, DDS (Carol); grandnieces Katherine Tone, Karol White, Kevin Oppedahl, Jessica Moore and Samantha Moore.

Williams’s life was filled with joy and love of his family, numerous friends and his lifelong service to humanity and his churches, Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church and Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. He was an active member serving as chairman of the board, past president of Methodist Men’s Club and counselor of United Methodist Youth Fellowship. He was a former Rotarian and a member of the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Military Affairs Committee for five years and as the chairman. He was a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

He had many achievements in his life, more than could ever be expressed in words. He was particularly proud of inventing and owning several patents along with graduating from the US Air Force Aerospace Defense Command Cum Laude.

He fully supported and promoted the first years of surfing in North Carolina, the formation of the Wrightsville Beach Surf Club in 1963 and the durable and well organized amateur surfing competitions that followed. He was a resourceful advocate of surfing and an environmental activist whose initiative focused on water quality.

He was supremely proud of his grandchildren Sarah Funderburg and Joey Funderburg and their outstanding achievements in their pursuit of spiritual, academic, physical and social excellence at Wilmington Christian Academy. He was delighted at their many victories on the golf courses across North Carolina and USA. He fully supported and promoted the Carolina Golf Association, Amateur and Junior Golf Programs.

We have lost a patriot and the patriarch of our family. He protected those in whose love he lived and those that are dear to us. He will be missed.

A Celebration of Life and memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

The family would like to thank the New Hanover Medical Group for their wonderful care.

Please share memories and condolences by clicking on the “guest book” tab above.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403. 910.791.9099


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  • February 02, 2014
    bill gage says:
    Dear Skipper, I'm sorry about your father's passing. It is a tough but inevitable milestone. I had the chance to meet him in the early 70's at your beach house. He was colorful, plain spoken, and committed on the issues we talked about, one of which was the school board; I took an immediate liking to him that afternoon. I did not know of his status as a bonafide member of the Greatest Generation. I've read extensively about D-Day, Normandy, and the subsequent invasion of occupied Europe by the Allied forces. The combat was extraordinary,and the logistical challenges of supply and supply lines made victory possible. Best wishes to you and your family. Bill

  • February 03, 2014
    Christina Funderburg Thomas says:
    Joe and family, we wish you peace in the many happy memories you hold in your heart. For me, Uncle William will always be remembered with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. When we were small and visiting from Florida every summer, he always planned such fun for us and we loved coming to visit NC. After we moved to Raleigh, Uncle William would come to visit or Dad and Mom would drive us down to Wilmington for family time with the Funderburgs and Nissens. I have so many wonderful memories of the love, support, and laughter we shared. Uncle William and my dad looked so much alike but were different in many ways. They were both so smart, but Uncle William had a technical mind full of engineering and inventions while Dad loved the natural sciences and mammals and birds. Yet, when they were together, they had great conversation and were more than brothers, they were friends. I will always miss Uncle William and Aunt Katherine and Dad, but I will treasure the great honor of knowing them and being part of their family. They truly were "the greatest generation", and Uncle William will proudly be remembered for his service to country and love for family. With much love, Christina Funderburg Thomas

  • February 04, 2014
    Jim & Caroline Bordeaux says:
    We are sorry to hear of Bill's passing. He was always very supportive of any efforts to protect the quality of life in the Greater Castle Hayne area. We will miss him, but we will also remember all of his accomplishments in support of Castle Hayne.

  • January 31, 2014
    George Thomas says:
    William was a loving father and grandfather. His grandchildren Joey and Sarah meant the world to him and are still likely the light of his eyes in his new body. I'm sure he is in heaven with his brothers and sisters where he's probably seated with pencil and paper designing ways to make heaven a little better than it must already be.

  • January 31, 2014
    Kathie and Knut Oppedahl says:
    OUR PRAYERS AND SYMPATHIES ARE WITH YOU AT THIS TIME OF LOSS. UNCLE WILLIAM WAS A GREAT MAN OF MANY TALENTS, SOME WHICH FEW KNEW ABOUT. HIS LEGACY AND LOVE OF COUNTRY AND FAMILY SHOULD INSPIRE US ALL FOR GENERATIONS TO COME. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU EACH CARRY A PART OF HIM WITH YOU EACH DAY. LOVE, KATHIE, KNUT AND FAMILY