Chris Funk Bio

Christopher John Williams Funk, age 36, passed away on Friday, July 2nd, 2010, at the HospiceCare Center in Fitchburg after 8½ years of living positively and gracefully with brain cancer.

Chris Williams was born in Milwaukee on August 6, 1973, the eldest child of Jay and Madonna Williams. He lived in Wisconsin until college, where he met his wife, Brandi Funk, at the University of Minnesota. The two moved to San Francisco in 1998, and when they married on June 3, 2000 he took her last name and became Chris Funk.

They welcomed Parnassus Rae into the world in May 2002 and Beatrix Ann in July 2005. Chris worked hard for Eastbay, the Gap, Lands’ End and Trek Bikes. Chris especially loved mountain biking, sporting in the snow and doing anything and everything with his girls. There was camping, traveling, parties, biking, wakeboarding, cross-country skiing, hiking, snowboarding, canoeing, beer-drinking, hugging, adventuring, going up north and all-around general hardcore life-living.

Chris was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2001, and in 2002 he and Brandi moved back to Wisconsin to be near family and seek ongoing treatment at UW Carbone Cancer Center. In 2004, Chris and Brandi founded HEADRUSH, an outdoor celebration/fundraising event and brain tumor awareness/research non-profit organization. In May 2008, HEADRUSH endowed Wisconsin’s first-ever brain tumor research professorship award at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. On May 25, 2010, Chris moved to HospiceCare, and on June 3, Chris and Brandi celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary.

Chris’ dry wit, his generous use of the word “dude,” his go-go-go personality and his powerfully loving spirit made him a magnet for his wife and daughters, his large extended family, his co-workers, his cycling buddies, his comrades in the cancer community and his enormous army of fiercely devoted friends. Chris lived a life full-to-bursting with zero regrets, and the only thing he lacked was more time.

Chris is survived by his wife, Brandi Funk, and his daughters, Parny and Bea of Madison; his parents, Jay and Madonna Williams of Hartland; his brother, sister-in-law and niece, Ryan, Natalia and Cassique Williams of Truckee, CA; his sister, brother-in-law and niece, Madonna, Jorge, and Maddy Aguilar of Chicago; his grandparents, Maryanne Williams of Evanston, IL and Walker and Donna Young of Mequon; and his in-laws, the Gilbert and Sally Funk family of Madison; as well as many other treasured relatives and friends.

Chris is preceded in death by his aunt, Jamie Kraina, and grandfather, Jack Williams.

Chris’ family would like to acknowledge the UW Carbone Cancer Center for their excellence in care--in particular, Ian Robins, Lori Hayes, Minesh Mehta, John Kuo, Letty Geanon and Mustafa Baskaya. The family would like to thank the team of devoted nurses in the Residence of HospiceCare Inc, and they would also like to extend a special heartfelt thank you to Trek Bikes and the Burke family for their amazing understanding and continued support of the Funk family.

In lieu of flowers, Chris’ family is asking everyone to write a letter to Parny and Bea about their dad. The family is collecting everyone’s writings and creating a special remembrance book for the girls. Also, if you wish, you may make a contribution to the “Chris Funk Memorial Fund” via the Madison Community Foundation. Throughout the next year, Chris’ family will be making “In Memory of Chris Funk” donations to various organizations that were meaningful to Chris’ life. For example, Razorback Ridges Mountain Bike Trails in Vilas County, HospiceCareInc in the form of umbrellas on all the resident’s patios, a tree in the UW Arboretum.

Services will take place on Monday, July 12th at Monona Terrace in Madison, WI. Traditional Visitation 9:30-11 a.m., Funeral Service 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Irish Wake 12-4 p.m. For more detailed information, visit www.caringbridge.com/visit/chrisfunk.