By Dennis Anderson, HDMG Community Relations
Dean Funk has been receiving treatment from High Desert Medical Group and Heritage Health Care for the past quarter century, and is looking forward to welcoming in a century of birthdays pretty soon.
Funk had his 98th birthday in May, and is happy to share that he is looking forward to his 99th birthday, even as he manages some serious health conditions.
“High Desert Medical Group, Heritage in Palmdale, they have taken very good care of me,” Funk said recently in a telephone interview. “There has been times their office called me, told me I should make an appointment, and come in for a physical check-up, or to review the medication I am taking.
“They made sure they stayed on top of the medical problems I have,” Funk said. “I remember all the way back to when High Desert Medical Group was in a Post Office building. That was in 1995.”
“The big problem I have now… they have medication for it,” he said. “It is a disease you have to learn to live with. You don’t let it drag you down.
“I have managed,” he said. “The worst side effect is you that can’t sleep at night, and that’s OK. I take naps during the day, so you work around it … I take medication for it.
“I hope I hit 100,” he said.
Right now, he said, he wants an appointment to get checked out for new glasses.
“I like to read the Antelope Valley Press,” he said. “I like to keep up with what’s going on. I look forward to getting up every morning.”
It’s been a long journey for Mr. Funk.
“I am really grateful that I have just about all my memory,” he said. “I can remember all the way back to the 1930s. Times were tough then in the Depression, and my mother had six boys.
“You didn’t get much then, except for some flour from the government, and I remember loving bread, and the smell of fresh-baked bread.”
Funk spent three years during World War II in the Marine Corps, and though he served on Samoa, and the Gilbert Islands, Guam, and close in time and place to the frantic battles at Tarawa and Okinawa, “I was lucky,” he said. “I never had to fire my M-1 Rifle.”
He was in an anti-aircraft detachment, and it was in the lines behind the waves of infantry storming the beaches.
“They said if the invasion went belly up, we might have to go in, but fortunately that did not happen,” he said. “I was discharged in October 1945 at the Great Lakes Naval Station. … It was three great years.”
“I had a great commanding officer, Norman True. He was an old guy left over from World War I, but he was a great commander. He would say, ‘I have to take care of my boys!'”
Turned out that Col. True was the one who signed his honorable discharge papers at Great Lakes.