William H. Funchess Jr., retiree, emeritus professor of Agronomy – June 10, 2021

June 14, 2021

William H. Funchess Jr., 93, died Thursday, June 10, 2021, at his home in Clemson.

Photo of William H. Funchess Jr.

William H. Funchess Jr.

Funchess had been employed by the Clemson University Extension Service and served as assistant county agent in Edgefield County and later in Richland County. He was transferred to the Clemson campus in 1970 and was promoted to the position of district agent supervising Extension personnel and programs in one third of the state. He also held the academic rank of associate professor in the Agronomy Department. He retired in 1984 after 30 years.

A graduate of Orangeburg High School. Funchess received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in agronomy from Clemson. He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Gama Sigma Delta and Epsilon Sigma Phi.

He served as a first lieutenant with the 24th Infantry Division and was among the first combat troops sent to Korea upon the outbreak of hostilities in 1950. He was later hit by machine gun fire, was captured by the Chinese Communist Army and was held as a prisoner of war for 34 months. While a POW he was falsely accused by the communists of being a war criminal and was released alone on the final day of the POW exchange in 1953. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge and two purple hearts for wounds received in battle.

In 1997 he authored a book, Korea P.O.W-A Thousand Days of Torment which told of some of his Korea experiences. In 2002 he was awarded the Palmetto Cross, the highest award given by the South Carolina Military Department.

In 2018, he was awarded the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor bestowed on citizens of South Carolina. He was also a 2018 Inductee to Clemson University Lever Hall of Fame. He was invited to the Medal of Honor Ceremony at the White House for Chaplain Emil Kapaun in Washington, D.C.

He is survived by a son, Mark H. (Jane) Funchess of Central; daughters, Carol (Steve Addis) Funchess of Six Mile and Janet Funchess (Jimmy) Anderson of Dahlonega, Georgia; sisters, Alice Frances Asbill of Lexington and Elaine Meyers of Wilmington, North Carolina; and seven grandchildren.

In addition to his wife and parents, Bill was predeceased by his granddaughter, Jo Holladay Funchess; and brother, Maynard Funchess.

Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Monday, June 14, 2021, in the chapel of Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home with burial with military honors to follow in Old Stone Church Cemetery in Clemson.

The family will receive friends from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. Monday prior to the service at the funeral home.

His full obituary is posted online.