Date of death: 6/16/2016
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1963
Anthony Vincent Funari, Jr aka Tony or Duke (3/6/37-06/16/16) passed away at 1:00 pm, in his Los Angeles home from a heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Adele, children (Vincent, Marianne, Lisa, Claudia), grandchildren (Chrissy, Ryan, Luca, Mary, Keegan) and sister (Madge). He was a first generation Italian-American born to Anthony and Anne Funari in Carnegie, PA, near Pittsburgh. He grew up in a blue collar family, the son of two immigrants who often worked two shifts a day to provide for the family. Tony was considered a genius and very quick learner at an early age; he excelled in his studies, even skipping a whole grade level in elementary school. He loved math, science, playing his accordion in a band, learning his prayers, and playing with other neighborhood children on the railroad tracks by his house. Independent and determined, he attended a special speech school in Michigan to overcome his powerful stutter so that he could attend and graduate from St. Meinrads Catholic Seminary and High School in Indiana (1955). After he finished, he went on to receive his BA in Philosophy at St. Vincent’s College in La Trobe, PA (1959). Tony decided to leave the seminary and further his studies at the University of Pittsburg, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with an electrical engineering degree in 1963. He then worked at the famous Bell Laboratories in NY. It was in NY that Tony met and romanced a beautiful young Italian, Adele Abate, who was studying languages in a New Jersey college. In 1965, Tony moved to Los Angeles and began a long career in the aerospace industry working for Litton, Hughes Aircraft, and Rocketdyne Systems. He rapidly rose in a new department for infrared missile systems guidance at Hughes Aircraft in Canoga Park. Tony’s early specialty was in infrared optics and guidance where he has several patents. He worked on several air-air missile programs designing infrared guidance systems for AMRAAM and Sidewinder missiles, which were among the first missiles to be self-guided. But his major contribution to the defense industry was the design and implementation of the LEAP program (Lightweight Exo-Atmospheric Projectile) for the Star Wars program in the 1980’s. His guidance systems for that program are still enabled on US Naval boats around the globe, and protect our country from a long range nuclear attack. After 25 loyal years at Hughes, Tony retired and began working at Rocketdyne systems in Chatsworth, Ca. where he retired in 2000 for health reasons.In 1966, after a few years of courtship, Tony and Adele became engaged and married in Naples, Italy and then honeymooned in Capri and Rome, Italy. By 1972, they moved to a beautiful new home in Woodland Hills, CA, where he lived until the time of his passing. Married for 50 years, Tony and Adele raised 4 incredible children (Vincent, Marianne, Lisa and Claudia) and settled down into the St. Mel’s Catholic Community. Tony loved food: Adele’s rigatoni, eggplant parmigiana, ravioli, lasagna, pierogi, oysters, anything with hot sauce, cornbread, meatballs, and wine. He also loved traveling with his wife and family, watching the Steelers, playing bridge, vacationing in Hawaii, telling stories and jokes, supervising pretty much anything, and spending time with his children and grandchildren. He leaves a big vacuum in our hearts and lives, but his jokes will last forever. We love you, Tony, Dad, Paka/Nonno.