Funk, Peter J. (1913-2010)
Peter J. Funk: agribusinessman, philanthropist, and community leader; born 8 September 1913 in Lyubimovka, Omsk, Russia. His parents were Jacob P. Funk (18 December 1890, Friedensfeld, Borozenko, South Russia – 14 April 1982, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada) and Maria (Friesen) Funk (8 October 1891, Sparrau, Molotschna, South Russia – 3 April 1979, Abbotsford, British Columbia). Peter was the oldest of seven siblings. Peter married Susan Martens (26 March 1912, Steinfeld, South Russia – 16 June 1993, Abbotsford, British Columbia) on 23 April 1939. They had six children: Donald, Ingrid, Ken, Alice, Judith, and John. Peter died on 27 January 2010 in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
The Jacob P Funk family arrived in Canada in 1930. They farmed in Chinook and Tofield, Alberta during the Depression. In 1939, Peter moved to Calgary, where he had started a small trucking company, picking up cream and eggs from outlying farms and delivering them to a creamery in Calgary.
In 1946, he moved his family to Abbotsford, BC, where he purchased a farm on Walmsely Road, which was later expropriated for an airport improvement project. His was a modest mixed farming operation, where he began his egg-grading business, selling to small retailers.
Based on a commitment from Woodwards to purchase his eggs, Funk started operations in a converted brooder house with no refrigeration, and Fraser Valley Farms came into being. As Woodwards grew, so did Fraser Valley Farms, and over the next few decades, the company, managed by Peter and his sons, bought out the other three competitors, and together with their Vancouver Island depot, the Funks soon controlled 80% of the province’s egg-grading industry. Fraser Valley Farms became the largest grading station and wholesaler of shell and processed eggs in the British Columbia market.
In 1972, on an invitation from Woodwards and with no experience, Fraser Valley Farms began packing private-label jams for Woodwards, thus launching Funk and his sons into the jam industry. They later added peanut butter and honey. With the addition of Western Family and other private label accounts, Fraser Valley Farms developed a branded industry, which resulted in the creation of Golden Valley Foods Ltd. in the late 1980s. In 1982 they moved the jam processing to their Marshall Road location. At their peak, the two enterprises employed approximately 150 and maintained a large fleet of trucks.
With the closing of Woodwards in 1993, and growing interest from the BC Egg Producers Association to do their own grading, the Funks sold their egg-grading business to them in 2006, and not long after, sold the jam business to E.D. Smith in Ontario, thus ending an almost 60-year history in the egg industry for the Funk family.
During much of his life in Abbotsford, Peter was a strong Rotarian, as were his two oldest sons. His attendance was perfect, and he contributed significantly to Rotary projects, both locally and abroad. He consciously attempted to attract strong Christian leaders to the service organization.
Peter attended the South Abbotsford Mennonite Brethren Church from the time he arrived in BC. As a grandfather, he faithfully brought his grandchildren to weekly Sunday School so that they might too learn to follow the Lord he had grown to love. He had a heart for the wider world outside his immediate community, which became evident through his generous financial support for church and Missions.
|Date Published||March 2020|
Cite This Article
Loewen, Dave. "Funk, Peter J. (1913-2010)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2020. Web. 25 Jun 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Funk,_Peter_J._(1913-2010)&oldid=168311.
Loewen, Dave. (March 2020). Funk, Peter J. (1913-2010). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 June 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Funk,_Peter_J._(1913-2010)&oldid=168311.
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