Valerie Anne Funk
April 7, 1964 to September 4, 2008
Val passed peacefully in her sleep after a 5 year battle with cancer. Val was a fierce competitor but this was one contest she could not win in the end, yet she rallied many times.
Val is survived by her devoted husband Don Tillapaugh and her loving children, her daughter Jamie, her son Zachary and her stepchildren Shane and Katie.
Val was born in Kamloops to Len and Sharon Funk, one of four children including Don, Greg and Dee.
Val was a passionate person. She lived by the motto “try”, and has instilled this outlook in Jamie and Zach. Val always made her family her priority and Jamie and Zach are testament to her qualities, her love and her support for her family. Don and Val were perfectly matched.
Among Val’s many passions, sports figured prominently. In school, she played badminton in Golden and was selected to the provincial team. At university she traded her badminton racket for a squash racket and competed at the “A” level. After three knee operations she finally decided to trade in the squash racket for a road bike and spent many happy hours drafting or pulling her cycling buddies Loree, Kenny and Carlos. “General Hill” and Mount Washington were no match for Val.
Val loved the outdoors and hiking. Some of our most memorable family moments originated from Cape Scott, Lake O’Hara and the Yoho Iceline. Val loved camping as well but “two weeks in the dirt” seemed her limit! Club Med trips were a welcome counterpoint.
Val had an intense love of science. She attended U-Vic completing her BSc and MSc in Biology before switching to complete a PhD in Biochemistry. She became self-taught in immunology, molecular biology and proteomics in order to undertake her research on fish health issues. Val worked effectively at the interface between the salmon farming industry and academia structuring collaborative research projects to solve critical industry problems. She was recognized for her efforts receiving a prestigious BC Innovation Council Research Award in 2006 and was selected the aquaculture researcher of the Year 2008 by industry.
Val’s other great love was for her gardens where she spent many happy hours. One of her biggest delights following her first battle with cancer was (with her co-conspirator Mary) the devious removal (SUV on the front lawn) of Don’s favourite pine tree – laying claim to “Val’s kitchen garden” once and for all.
And then was her love of coffee – which she loved almost as much as science. Coffee always started her day.
Val will be sorely missed but never forgotten.
In lieu of flowers, Val would request a donation to the BC Cancer Foundation www.bccancerfoundation.com