Obituary: Kenney Phipps Funderburke, Jr.

(The former “Living Legend”)

Kenney Phipps Funderburke, Jr, age 92, of Summerville, SC died Saturday, March 9, 2019. Mr. Funderburke was born in Pageland, SC April 3, 1926, the first child of Kenney Phipps Funderburke, Sr. and Vera Lee Schuler Funderburke. He was preceded in death by his parents and his only brother, Eugene Carson Funderburke. Survivors include his wife Bessie Lee of 70 years, and three sons: Douglas Bruce (Louise) of Richmond, VA, Kirby Phipps (Lisa) of Lewisburg, WV and Forrest Kent (Judy) of Marietta, GA, six grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and several nieces and nephews.

He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Murray State College (now University) and was graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Forestry. He served three years in the Navy during World War II as a seaman, aviation cadet and gunnery instructor.

Upon graduation from the University of Georgia he served as an Assistant District Forester at Walterboro, SC for the South Carolina Forestry Commission. He was then employed by the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company and Westvaco for 42 years.

Kenney was a pioneer in the Forest Industry and had multiple assignments for Westvaco whereby he scouted and purchased large blocks of forestland and then led those operations in Santa Catarina, Brazil, SA, Virginia and West Virginia. He was a leader in many forestry associations during his career including the Society of American Foresters (Fellow), West Virginia Forestry Association (President), and South Carolina Forestry Association. He was also well known for hiring and mentoring young forestry students through the Westvaco Forestry Internship Program, so much so that his mentoring legacy lives on through the Appalachian Society of American Forester’s K. P. Funderburke, Jr. Educational Endowment Fund. The Fund was established many years ago to honor Mr. Funderburke and to assist forestry students and young foresters. For his dedicated services to the various states where he worked, he was awarded the “Order of the Palm” from South Carolina and was commissioned an Admiral in the Cherry River Navy in West Virginia and also named a Kentucky Colonel. – He was a lifelong supporter of Second Amendment Rights and Rotary International.

No formal ceremonies are planned. His body will be cremated and the ashes will be disposed of in a manner prescribed by the deceased. Memorials may be made to “Meals on Wheels of Summerville, SC” or contributions to the “K. P. Funderburke, Jr. Educational Endowment Fund” may be sent to Appalachian SAF Treasurer, c/o Tony Doster, Resource Management, 2704-C Exchange Dr., Wilmington, NC 28405.

As all those who had the opportunity to work with, work for or be connected to Kenney know he had a way – typically his way – and we thank you all for making his life fulfilled.