Charles Funk stands with his painting

Renowned artist Charles Funk stands with his painting “Trail to Grandma’s Home.” The trail is located at the back of Bruceport Park and goes down to the water. There is a stream at the bottom of the trail and a rock outcropping where the house was. Theirs was the only house that was not in the village. Adds, Mary Funk: “There were a few stones left when we first met in the 1950s. Charles painted the picture in 2019 and gave it to our daughter, Cheryl, for Christmas that year.”

Artist Charles Funk is an elder of the Chinook Tribe and is a past member of the Chinook council.

Of his heritage, he says: “My great, great-grandfather, Alex Milne arrived in Bruceport shortly after the sinking of the Robert Bruce. He married Maria. Her mother, Celestum, a Chinook woman, was from Wa-Hoot-San, the village at the site of Bruceport. They had two daughters, Kate and Caroline, my great grandmother. Caroline married Joseph McBride. At first, they lived in the town, then they moved to the point below the present-day park. There were still a few stones from the chimney 60 years ago in the last remains of the town.”

Funk treasures the stories of his family and of their life in Bruceport:

“My grandmother told of falling asleep on a log and floating out on the tide. She had to be saved by her father with his oyster sloop. We have a picture of that sloop, the Bluejacket. One story we have not been able to complete involved Wiegardt. An Alex Dart willed a parcel of land in the town to McBride. Wiegardt bought the parcel for $20. The following week, McBride bought it back for $25. We do not know who Alex Dart was or why the transaction took place.”

Known for his paintings in oil and watercolor, Funk is also a wood carver, most recently producing a set of unique Chinook paddles. Of his work, he says: “My art reflects my home, southwest Washington, and my heritage as a member of the Chinook Tribe. I spent my early years in South Bend, Washington. The hills, rivers, skies, and mudflats of that place still appear in much of my art. The other strong influence in my art is my Chinook Native American heritage.”

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