Professor Emeritus Philip Joseph Funigiello, 84, of Williamsburg, joined his parents, Pasquale and Frances Funigiello; his brother, Ralph; his uncles, Anthony and Joseph Funigiello and Joseph’s wife Ida; cousin Valerie Vitalo; and above all, his devoted wife, Joanne Basso Funigiello in heaven on Sunday, August 20, 2023. Despite having hip surgery several years prior and living with diabetes and congestive heart failure, he maintained an active and independent lifestyle until his last day.
Born in the Bronx, New York on June 28, 1939, Phil earned his A.B. from Hunter College, followed by his M.A. from the University of California-Berkeley, and his Ph.Dfrom New York University. He taught American History at the College of William & Mary from 1966 until his retirement. He was the author of five books and numerous academic papers, as well as being a Fulbright Scholar.
Phil was an optimist with a warm and generous nature anda kind heart. He loved reading, particularly historical fiction and nonfiction and mysteries, gardening, watching movies and television, especially the Sunday night PBS programming, and keeping up with politics and current events. He engaged in spirited debates with his colleagues and friends, and was adept at voicing his own opinions passionately while being tolerant of opposing viewpoints and separating the personal from the political. He loved animals, especially cats and the deer families, birds, and rabbits that frequently visited his backyard, but not the lizards that sunned themselves on his deck, towards which he felt a mixture of fear and disgust. He enjoyed culture and in his younger years attended countless plays and concerts locally and in New York as well as visited museums, monuments, churches and other places of significance around the world. He valued learning, curiosity, and hard work, and encouraged the development of those traits in his students, with whom he shared many close and long-lasting friendships.
A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Philaccompanied his wife Joanne when she led the summer abroad program in Italy and traveled extensively with his family throughout much of Europe, including battlefields and other places relevant to WWII, a time in history of particular interest to him. He always loved good food,especially Italian food, company, and conversation; late in life, he discovered a passion for cooking and took Italian language classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (formerly the Christopher Wren Association). He also supported numerous local charities, including the Heritage Humane Society (for which he served on the board), Hospice House of Williamsburg, CDR, and FISH.He had many close friends in the local area who became like family and were very special to him, and who helped him both with routine chores like trash pickup and unique challenges like setting up the new Keurig coffeemaker. In return, he was happy to share jars of his homemade pesto and marinara sauces, cheesecakes, and soups with them.
Phil is survived by his daughter Alicia and her husband Joshua, his grandson Alex, his sister and brother-in-law, Theresa and William Lightbody, and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 12 p.m. Friday at St. Bede Catholic Church on Ironbound Road in Williamsburg. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice House of Williamsburg, Heritage Humane Society of Williamsburg, or the American Heart Association.
Saint Bede Catholic Church - Directions
3686 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188