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Mary Lee Funk

May 6, 1930 April 2, 2020
Mary Lee Funk
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Obituary for Mary Lee Funk

Mary Lee Funk, a longtime resident of Florence, KY, passed away April 2, 2020. She was a month shy of turning 90.

Born May 6, 1930, to Jacob and Mary Roberts Holmes, she grew up in Covington, KY in a house directly across the street from St. Elizabeth Hospital. As a child during the Great Depression, she used to talk to the hurting men and women standing in the hospital's bread lines. It was that experience, she later said, that first sparked her interest in helping people by becoming a nurse. She went on to graduate from the St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in 1951, and worked at the hospital and as a visiting nurse for several years.

Mary Lee's mother, Mary, died when she was just 5 years old. So when she later married C. William "Bill" Funk and then became a mother herself, Mary Lee made sure she was always there for her four sons -- Tim, Tom, Terry and Ted.

After her mother's death in 1935, Mary Lee began spending more time in Florence with her Aunt Sue and Uncle Menter Martin. Their house at 226 Main Street was the first home of Mary Lee, Bill, and the kids. And when the family moved to Florence's first suburbs in 1962, the house was turned into a law office for Bill, who by then had graduated from Chase Law School and started a law practice.

Mary Lee's father, Jacob, superintendent of mail for the Cincinnati post office, remarried in 1940 to Mabel Hook. And in 1941, Mary Lee got a little brother, Bob. The two siblings remained close the rest of her life.

In 1948, Mary Lee graduated from Seton High School in Cincinnati. Then she enrolled in nursing school, where she met and worked alongside fellow RN’s who would become lifelong friends, including Marilyn Powers, Claire Ballaban, and Alice Lewin. Even after their nursing days were over, the group would continue to meet socially nearly every month.

Her nursing friends called her Lee. But Mary Lee would answer to other names over the years. To Bill and her daughters-in-law Julie and Lorna, she was Babe. To her sons, she was Mom. And to her grandchildren -- Emily, Will, Liam, James and Bella -- she was either Ninaw or Maw.

Mary Lee and Bill were married June 26, 1954 at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Cincinnati. The couple was fixed up by Bill's sister, Ruth Ann Fewell, at St. Elizabeth Hospital. She was there to have a baby and Mary Lee was her nurse.

Tim was born in 1955, Tom in 1956, Terry in 1958 and Ted in 1962. (The all T's thing was Bill's idea).

Mary Lee loved roses and Euchre and Diet Coke and daytime soap operas. She and Bill spent a lot of time playing cards, traveling and laughing it up with a tight circle of good friends, including the Muellers, the Eschans, the Gohmans, the Kinmans and the Wilsons. Some were neighbors; others they met through St. Paul Catholic School in Florence, where all their kids attended, and at St. Paul Catholic Church, where Bill later served as one of the first deacons in the Diocese of Covington.

Mary Lee kept serving people later in life, as an ombudsman, or patient advocate, at St. Charles Nursing Home in Ft. Mitchell, KY.

And she LOVED her grandchildren!

When she died, she was a resident at Rosedale Green in Latonia, KY.

Mary Lee is survived by her sons Tim in Charlotte, NC, Tom (Julie) in Crittenden, KY, Terry (Lorna) in Florence, KY, and Ted in Union, KY; her brother, Bob (Mary) Holmes in Cincinnati; her sister-in-law, Ruth Ann (Don) Fewell in Erlanger, KY; her grandchildren Emily Funk Abney (Joe) in Louisville, KY., Will in San Diego, CA, Liam in Crittenden, James in Union, and Bella in Union; a future great-granddaughter, Helen Kathryn, coming in August; and several nieces and nephews.

Mary Lee was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Bill, who died in 1989 at age 60; by her mother, father, stepmother, and aunts and uncles.

Due to current restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial Mass will be held at a later date.

Donations in Mary Lee’s memory may be made to Rose Garden Home Mission in Covington, KY.

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Cemetery Details


Highland Cemetery Final Resting Place

2167 Dixie Highway
Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017

2167 Dixie Highway Ft. Mitchell 41017 KY
United States

Memorial Contribution

Rose Garden Home Mission, 2040 Madison Ave, Covington, KY 41014


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