Like Father, Like Son – Significant Sig Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II and his Beta Rho Experience
As seventh in a long line of Sigma Chis, there was only one fraternity for Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II ’84. Paul comes from a proud family of Soldiers and Sigma Chi alumni. Funk II followed his father Lt. Gen. (Retired) Paul “Butch” Funk ’61, who served Beta Rho as Magister and Consul and 32 years as a Soldier. Both sides of Paul’s family have strong ties to Montana State University and the Beta Rho chapter of Sigma Chi.
Paul’s family of Montana State University alumni includes his father Paul “Butch” Funk, mother Sheila “Danny” Funk, grandfather Frank Brown ’30, uncles Chester “Chet” Brown ’59, Robert “Bebo” Funk ’62, Jon Funk ’65, and cousin Col. Darrel Charlton ’64. “I learned the value of service to this nation by watching my father as he served his country for over 32 years” Paul says. “Montana State and Beta Rho gave me the opportunity to follow his example.”
In his early days at Montana State University, Paul was attracted to Sigma Chi’s core values. “As the son of a Soldier, and part of the Army family for 57 years now myself, I think it’s hard to overstate the importance of justice, friendship, and learning. The values this organization instills in its members helped shape my college experience and those same values are no less important to me today.”
As a student, Beta Rho pushed Paul to succeed. “I like to joke that I wasn’t always the best student, and if I wasn’t part of an organization that valued learning, I might not have graduated at all.” Paul graduated MSU with a speech communication degree and a commission in the United States Army through the MSU Army ROTC program.
Paul continued his journey of lifelong learning in both his civilian and military education. He later earned his Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University. As a Soldier, Paul has graduated of the Army Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Command and General Staff College, and the Senior Service College as a fellow attending the Institute of Advanced Technology at the University of Texas in Austin.
It wasn’t just the focus on values and learning that Paul appreciates from his time in Beta Rho. “Bud Hall ’61 and Barry Hedrich ’81, our Consul at the time, were strong mentors, even after we graduated. Their support was so important to me.” He stays in contact with many other Beta Rho brothers, including Tom Heck ’80, Terry Bruckbauer ’82, Larry Larsen ’82, Bob Morton ’82, Bryan Henson ’84, Walt Smith ’85, Tom Sullivan ’86 and his wife, Gina Sullivan, Skip Higgins ’84, and our sweetheart, Betty Higgins.
In 2018, Paul was named Significant Sig, following his father, Butch, who was awarded Significant Sig in 1991. This is the 10th Significant Sig award for Beta Rho. “When I joined Sigma Chi, I joined something bigger than myself. I became part of a brotherhood that sought to make better leaders and citizens of every member. Throughout my life, I’ve always gravitated toward being part of something bigger.”
Paul has commanded at every echelon in the U.S. Army through the corps level. He has deployed and led Soldiers in combat six times, beginning with Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and continuing through the Global War on Terror. Most recently, Paul commanded the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve in 2017 and 2018 where he led the coalition of 74 nations with one mission – the defeat of ISIS. His sixty months of combat tours include two in Operation Iraqi Freedom, one in Operation Enduring Freedom, and two in Operation Inherent Resolve.
Paul currently serves as the Commanding General of the Third Armored Corps – known as “America’s Hammer!” and the “Phantom Corps” headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas. In this role he commands over 40% of the Army’s combat power and more than 90,000 Soldiers spread across six states. He was recently confirmed for promotion to four star general and the next Commanding General of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.
Paul and his wife, Beth, have three children, Amanda and her husband Jake, Matthew and his wife Christine, and Nate. They have one grandson, Jack. In his spare time, Paul enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, hunting, and fishing.
Beta Rho Sigs Unite at Fort Hood to Honor Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II ’84
In October, a group of Beta Rho Sigs gathered in Killeen, Texas, at Fort Hood to celebrate Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II ’84 receiving the Significant Sig award and his proud military career. The weekend was a multi-generational Beta Rho affair, including friends of both Paul ’84 and his father, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Paul “Butch” Funk ’61. In attendance were Helen and Dave Sloan ’60, Danny and Butch Funk ’61, Kathy and Bebo Brown ’62, Anna Marie and Col. (Ret.) Darrel Charlton ’64, Tom Overturf ’64, Tom Heck ’80, Ralph Simpson ’81, Terry Bruckbauer ’82, Bobby Morton ’82, Larry Larsen ’82, Roy Ewen ’82, Dennis McSweeney ’83, Bryan Henson ’84, Skip Higgins ’84, Russ Newberry ’84, Walt Smith ’85, and Bill Funk.
Below is a recap of the weekend as told by Tom Overturf.
“On Friday we enjoyed a VIP tour of Fort Hood. Due to the heavy rains before and during our stay, the carefully scheduled events by Paul’s staff had to be modified due to flood and mud. The enormity of the military operations (one of the largest installations anywhere), the troops, the equipment, the facilities, the support communities around the post, and the obvious respect and love among everyone, from the Chinese restaurant, to the mess halls, to the facility tours, museums, simulators, and the interface with the Funk Generals and their loyal troops, was just heart-rending!
After a full day of VIP activities on the post, we formed a convoy to travel a half hour west to the famous Spearhead Ranch, the Funk’s Hereford cattle operation. The planned Texas barbecue had to be moved inside but Butch’s wife, Danny, and the big family put on a fine cocktail party with spectacular hors d’oeuvres followed by a great, sit-down dinner in their huge party room. All the Beta Rho Sigs and families, kids, grandkids, great-grandson, friends (including a Major General Sigma Chi friend) gathered around, as Bryan Henson ’84 emceed the official Significant Sig ceremony. The keynote address was delivered by Walt Smith ’85 from Seattle, and there was not a dry eye in the house. Helen Sloan observed, ‘I’m just blown-away by this tremendous, military-family atmosphere that permeates everything around Ft. Hood and the Funks.’
The Saturday schedule afforded additional military VIP tours and opportunities to mingle with the troops as well as the brothers before heading back home. We all departed with a new appreciation for our military and their very professional dedication to the defense of America. It was an event that will long be remembered for the very impressive military operation, the quality of the facilities and the troops, the great hospitality of the Funk family, and the long-term, multi-generational brotherhood of Beta Rho of Sigma Chi. We all can share in the pride of accomplishment of Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II, as he has followed the big footprints of his dad, Lt. Genl. Paul “Butch” Funk (Ret.). All honor to these great leadership names!
Stay tuned, as Paul is not ready to retire just yet…”
Supporting the Vision
Ritchie Secor ’71 on the Importance of Giving to Beta Rho
Ritchie Secor ’71 was a legacy of Sigma Chi fraternity when he came Montana State University. As the younger brother of Gary Secor ’68, Ritchie knew the benefits of the brotherhood and how supportive it could be for incoming students. “Gary joined Beta Rho while I was in high school and I met a lot of his friends,” Ritchie recalled. “I saw how much he loved the fraternity.” With his older brother’s encouragement, Ritchie decided to pledge Sigma Chi.
The comfort of the chapter house was incomparable for Ritchie, who saw his membership as a unique opportunity to meet great friends and learned values and ideals that he continues to live by today. He enjoyed attending chapter events and school-wide functions such as Homecoming, though the rock and roll band he played in with some of his Beta Rho brothers was the most fun. “Steve White ’71, Duncan Kippen ’71, Greg Rowe ’72, and I played together, even performed during Derby Days one year,” Ritchie stated. “I played the keyboards and harmonica mainly, but was also a vocalist.”
Memories and opportunities for current and future members is something Ritchie places in high regard, and having a suitable chapter house for which to create them is equally important. “Beta Rho’s house is over 50 years old and in dire need of renovation,” he shared. “The necessary upgrades are only going to come from alumni support.” Because he realizes the critical nature of alumni support, Ritchie was eager to contribute to the Honoring Our Past 100 Years: Beta Rho’s Vision for 2025 capital campaign.
“Anyone who attended Beta Rho’s centennial celebration last year would likely agree, today’s active chapter consists of outstanding brothers,” Ritchie explained. “We’ve received the Peterson four out of the past five years—the highest honor bestowed upon a chapter by the fraternity. The undergraduates are gearing up to try and win it again this year!” Enthusiasm and pride for Beta Rho is something Ritchie hopes his fellow alumni will reference and use as a motivating factor to give to Beta Rho’s Vision for 2025.
Now a retired bonds trader, Ritchie spent years working for a regional brokerage firm in Montana, D.A. Davidson and Company. “It was a phone job, which allowed me to work with other bond traders from around the country,” he said. “I loved it, and really got to know people because I spoke with many of them daily.” Today, Ritchie enjoys playing golf and darts, learning bridge from his wife of 40 years and Beta Rho’s Sweetheart of ’77, Marilyn, and playing music. You can connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read past alumni spotlights, click the links below.
Spring 2019: Lt. Gen. Paul Funk II ’84
Fall 2018: Steve Spencer ’79
Spring 2018: Ritchie Secor ’71
Fall 2017: Gerald “Gerry” Steinbrenner ’81
Summer 2017: Ryan Roseleip ’97
Winter 2017: Brian Loucks ’64, Jim Darfler ’76
Fall 2016: Steve Hamilton ’94, Curt Hamilton ’96, Jim Hamilton ’02
Spring 2016: Steve Nash, Beta Delta ’99, Bill Pond ’60
Fall 2015: Larry Larsen ’82
Spring 2015: Tom Eggensperger ’73, Walter Smith ’85
Fall 2014: Craig Beals ’05