Hans Madsen Funk

Here is the brief yet fascinating story of my second great grand uncle, Hans Madsen Funk (1839-1892).


Hans Madsen Funk

Hans Madsen Funk was born on May 15, 1839 in Eskesgård, Pedersker, Bornholm, Denmark. If you recall, he was one of thirteen children born to Diderik Espersen Funk and Kirsten Madsen Hansen.


Hans Madsen Funk’s birth and confirmation record in the Pedersker Parish records of 1839

On November 4, 1855, Hans was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) by Christian G. Larson. He immigrated to America in 1861 and by 1872 had set up a homestead in Lewiston, Cache County, Utah.


Hans listed as a passenger of the Monarch of the Sea, which arrived in New York in 1861

In April of 1865, Hans, his wife Christina Swensen, and their children along with Hans’ brother Christopher Funk, his wife Annie Kofoed, and children were in the first group of pioneers to settle the town of Weston, Idaho.


Monument erected on April 15, 1941 in front of the LDS Church on the main street of Weston, Idaho

On October 11, 1875, Hans was called to serve a mission for the LDS Church in “the region of the Colorado River.” His mission call was signed by Brigham Young and Daniel Wells of the First Presidency of the LDS Church.


Mission call to the region of the Colorado River, dated October 11, 1875 and signed by Brigham Young

In 1879, Hans accepted a mission call to Scandinavia. He arrived in Copenhagen on November 29, 1879 and was assigned to preside over the Copenhagen Conference. In 1880, he and his companion held Church meetings on the island of Samsø (Holbæk County). They were arrested and imprisoned for three days. After his release, Hans baptized and confirmed a family living on the island. As one historian observed, “It seemed that every time the civil authorities undertook to hinder the progress of the work, they only helped to arouse the feelings of the people and further the good cause.” Hans departed from Copenhagen on August 29, 1881 aboard the steamer Pacific.


Samsø, Denmark

A few months after he returned to Utah, Hans was ordained a bishop by William B. Preston. He served as bishop of the Newton Ward in the Benson Stake from 1884 to 1892. During his tenure, he was arrested for unlawful cohabitation (i.e., polygamy). In November 1887, Hans was fined three hundred dollars and sentenced to six months in prison. The following May, he was released.


Portrait of Hans Masden Funk

Hans Madsen Funk died in 1892 in Newton, Cache County, at age fifty-three.


Headstone of Hans Madsen Funk, Richmond City Cemetery

The Funk’s

Funk family history takes us to Denmark – specifically, the Island of Bornholm. Bornholm is situated in the Baltic Sea, approximately 100 miles southeast of Copenhagen. Curiously, Bornholm is closer to Sweden and Poland than mainland Denmark.

Picturesque Bornholm

The Island of Bornholm to the East

My third great grandfather, Diderik Espersen Funk (1800-1874), was a farmer in the small village of Povlsker; however, he soon moved to the town of Pedersker. It appears Diderik was also connected to the sea for in one account he is described as a “sailor who made several trips to Iceland, Greenland, and to other countries." Diderik, however, was foremost a farmer. In fact, the "Diderik Funk Farm” is still a familiar spot on the island and is known for its beauty.

Diderik Espersen Funk

On November 12, 1825, Diderik married Kirsten Madsen Hansen (1801-1875). They made Pedersker their home.

Kirsten Madsen Hansen

The Danes generally believed that the more children they had, the more luck and blessings they would enjoy. It appears my ancestors definitely adopted this philosophy. Diderik and Kirsten had 13 children, which included two sets of twins. Their names were Elia; Elia’s unnamed twin brother who was stillborn; Jorgene; Christopher Madsen and twin Cecelia Kirstine; Jacobena; Hansmine; Kirstina Matilda; Hans Madsen; Didderikke Helena; Marcus Espersen; Hannah Eliza; and Willard Richards (more on that later).

Marcus, my second great grandfather, was born on December 3, 1842 and was baptized two months later in Saint Peders Church on February 4, 1843.

Saint Peders Church, Bornholm, Denmark

Copy of Marcus’ Birth and Baptismal Certificate

In 1851, missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) arrived on the island. In February of 1856, Diderik was baptized into the church. Kirsten was baptized three months later. Marcus was baptized in January of 1857 at the age of 14.

It turns out the LDS missionaries may have played a part in naming Diderik and Kirsten’s youngest child. It appears the missionaries were called to the Funk home to give the new baby a blessing, but the parents did not know what to call him. The missionaries suggested “Willard Richards,” after the latter-day apostle.

Willard Richards Funk (Post 1909)

Not long after Marcus’ baptism, Diderik and Kirsten decided to leave Denmark and travel to Utah. On May 29, 1857, the Funk’s boarded the Tuscarora under the command of Captain Richard M. Dunlevy. On board were 547 LDS immigrates, of which 185 were Danes. The ship arrived in Philadelphia on July 3, 1857.

On August 29, 1859, the Funk’s arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. They had traveled with the James Brown ox train. Willard Richards Funk described their arrival:

We arrived and camped in the public square. The people were very good to us and brought us all kinds of vegetables and bread. They brought us a large squash and mother asked what it was. They told her and said to cut it up in strips about two inches long and boil it like potatoes. We cooked it and tried to eat it, it was the first time we had ever tasted it and we could not. Mother cried because we had to throw it out.

Later, most of the Funk family moved to Richmond, Cache County, Utah. On October 22, 1864, Marcus married Magdalene Olsen Westenskow. Magdalene had also joined the church in Denmark and had immigrated to Utah.

Marcus Funk

Magdalene Olsen Westenskow

On January 20, 1867, Magdalene gave birth to William Jacob Funk, my great grandfather. William eventually married Naomi Roxana Holman, who gave birth to my grandma in 1910.

William Jacob Funk (1867-1935)

Naomi Roxana Holman (1870-1953)

My Grandma, Erma Funk (1910-1997) with her son Richard (my youngest daughter looks exactly like him in this picture) 

Harold Edwin Lundquist: The Labor Missionary

In the summer of 1956, my grandfather and grandma Lundquist were called to serve a labor mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Their mission? To assist in the construction of the Church College of Hawaii (now known as BYU-Hawaii). Most of my information comes from a fantastic book I found online called “Church College of Hawaii and Its Builders.”


On February 7, 1921, LDS President David O. McKay attended a flag raising ceremony at a church elementary school in Laie, Hawaii. It was then that he decided to build a school of higher learning: “Here on the island where the power of God has been shown to man to a greater degree than upon any of the other Islands, it has been resolved to build a school at Laie, Hawaii.”


President David O. McKay and his wife, Emma Ray McKay

On September 1, 1955, the LDS Church established a labor missionary program throughout the Pacific Islands for the purpose of building chapels and schools. In December of 1955, labor missionaries began working on the campus of the Church College of Hawaii.


While on his mission, my grandfather supervised the painting and decorating of the college, as well as the LDS temple. My grandma took care of my mom, who attended Kahuku High School, and worked in the visitor center of the Hawaiian temple.


The Lundquists: my grandfather, mom, and grandma


The labor missionaries in front of the Hawaiian temple; my grandfather and grandma are highlighted in red

My grandfather’s paint crew was comprised of a group of young Polynesian men who were described as “rowdy” and “unruly.” It turns out that none of them had ever seen a paint brush prior to this.


My grandfather (far right) and his paint crew in front of the Hawaiian temple

One particularly challenging task my grandfather faced during his mission was the hanging of the murals in the foyer of the administration building. One of these, entitled “Kapiolani Defies Pele," depicts the first Christian missionaries who arrived in Hawaii in 1820. The mural is quite large (32 feet by 12 feet) and had to be hung in sections. My grandfather had learned the art of hanging murals from his dad, Eric Benjamin Lundquist. The paste my grandfather used to adhere the murals contained white lead, linseed oil, and other ingredients.


"Kapiolani Defies Pele”

After being gone for more than three years, my grandfather, grandma, and mom returned to Los Angeles.

As you would imagine, Hawaii is a very special place for my family, not only because of this experience, but because my family moved there in the 1970’s. In 1978, I was born at Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu.


Church College of Hawaii: when naming the school, President David O. McKay said, "This is the Church; so this college should be named THE CHURCH COLLEGE OF HAWAII, not Mormon, not Latter-Day-Saint, but THE CHURCH COLLEGE OF HAWAII.“