By PAM HARBAUGH
I just got word that dear, dear Ruth Funk passed away Thursday. I don’t have any details yet, but I could not wait for them before I got this information out there.Ruth was an amazing woman. An inspiration to all. She led a big life, had a big heart and vision to match. Her art, the wearable art she created, remains exquisitely beautiful and expertly crafted.
And, of course, she leaves behind the amazing Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts. Years ago, she gave Florida Tech $1.25 million to begin work on the textile museum. Now, it is the only one of its kind in the southeast. She told me that she wanted to give the money to Florida Tech while she was still alive so she could reap the deep pleasure at seeing her money put to good use.
Indeed, two weeks ago, she attended Florida Tech’s the 11th annual luncheon held during the Uncommon Threads Symposium. She positively glowed, happy to be there, happy to see the more than 100 people enjoying the luncheon and lecture by an international art expert.
She showed that big, beautiful smile she always had. She wasn’t above scolding when she thought something was not being done right. But you wanted to listen to her because she was just so darn smart and passionate.
A few years ago, when I headed to The Gates event in New York City’s Central Park, she asked me to bring back a swatch of the saffron silks artist Cristo used to festoon Central Park. I was delighted to do her bidding and I must say she was very tickled to receive the small square.
A well educated woman, she also exhibited a touch of marvelous, artsy eccentricity shown by all those silver bracelets she’d wear. She loved ethnic art, colorful works, cultural cloth and was passionate about preserving it.
She will be SO missed. We can all take comfort, though, feeling her spirit still living at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts and throughout the entire cultural community, which she so dearly loved.
Services are set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 14 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 7200 N. Wickham Road in Melbourne. Beckman Williamson Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Reception to follow at Suntree Country Club.