In Memoriam - Fall 2022
Remembering: Norma Lee (Cohen) Funger
Norma Lee (Cohen) Funger, a pillar of the George Washington University whose name graces the front of Norma Lee and Morton Funger Hall on GW’s Foggy Bottom campus, died July 4. She was 90.
Funger, along with her husband, Morton “Morty” Funger, A.A. ’52, B.A. ’53, received the university’s President’s Medal for service, engagement and leadership to GW across five decades.
A native Washingtonian, Funger graduated from D.C.’s Roosevelt High School and attended Syracuse University and Wilsons Teachers College.
She spent much of her life giving back to the community that raised her, including GW. Her and her husband’s philanthropic support to the university includes gifts and endowed funds across many schools, including professorships in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the Elliott School of International Affairs and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, as well as funds to support the arts.
One of the Fungers’ four children, Scott, graduated from GW Law in 1983. After his death in 2012, the Fungers endowed the W. Scott Funger Memorial Scholarship in his memory at GW Law. Three of their grandchildren also graduated from GW.
“The Fungers are philanthropic giants who have made the world a better place, and I’m so proud that our university can represent their legacy,” said Donna Arbide, GW’s vice president for development and alumni relations. “Their impact cannot be overstated, and their love for GW and their incredible leadership, support and generosity is well known in philanthropic circles. Norma Lee and Morty were among the first donor names I heard even before I assumed my position. She will be sorely missed.”
Funger was a licensed real estate agent with Lewis & Silverman, which later became Long & Foster Realtors. In recognition of her outstanding sales record, she was named a member of the Chairman’s Club at Long & Foster Realtors.
She served on the boards of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum and National Gallery of Art, as well as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, to which she was appointed by President Barack Obama.
Funger served on the Foundation Board of Children’s National Hospital for 31 years, where she and Morton established the Cohen-Funger Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery. She was also a board member of the Children’s Inn at NIH (formerly Ronald McDonald House).
She is survived by her husband, children Lydia McClain, Melanie Nichols and Keith Funger, as well as Holly, the wife of her late son W. Scott Funger.
Theodore V. Fishman, B.A. ’68, J.D. ’71 (Aug. 2, 2022, 76), spent a long and distinguished legal career with the State of New Jersey Office of the Public Defender and represented hundreds of defendants. He was awarded the N.J. Office of the Public Defender Stanley C. Van Ness Award, which recognizes a person who demonstrates “a persuasive voice for the voiceless and effective advocacy for the rights of the individual.” He was an adjunct professor at Mercer County Community College and Trenton State College. He is survived by his wife, Karen Seltzer, his two sons and two grandchildren.
Charles Sherfy Jones, J.D. ’61, (May 2, 2022, 91), had a long career in the insurance field with Jefferson Standard in its Arlington, Virginia office. Jones was committed to professional education and community service. He served as president of the D.C. chapter of the Society of Financial Service professionals and was selected as the recipient of the Bernard L. Wilner award, now the Legacy Award, for outstanding service to his industry and to his community. He is survived by his three children, their spouses and eight grandchildren.
Kenneth Starr, B.A. ’68, (Sept. 13, 2022, 76), had a storied career in the law and public service as an attorney, judge, independent counsel and university leader. He served as a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit from 1989 to 1993, as U.S. solicitor general under George H.W. Bush, and the independent counsel for five investigations in the 1990s. In all, Starr argued 36 cases before the Supreme Court. He also was a partner in two national law firms: Kirkland & Ellis and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He taught constitutional law as an adjunct or visiting professor at a number of law schools and served as the Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean of the Pepperdine School of Law from 2004 to 2010 and as president and chancellor of Baylor University from 2010 to 2016. He is survived by his wife, Alice Mendell Starr, three children and nine grandchildren.
Funger: Dave Scavone