Arts & Leisure

2015 0505 book release

Help celebrate the release of Wallie Funk’s new book “Pictures of the Past” and the Anacortes American’s 125th anniversary, at an open house and book release party this Saturday at the Anacortes Depot Arts and Community Center.

A short program by American Publisher Jack Darnton is at noon, followed by the book release party. Funk, who was editor and co-publisher of the Anacortes American from 1950 to 1964, plans to attend.

The book, produced by the Anacortes Museum, is a selection of Funk’s delightful history columns, which ran in the American from 1994 to 2001. It includes about 50 of the best of his informative, humorous and surprisingly relevant stories of pioneers and promoters, cops and cons, publishers and photographers, war heroes and athletes, industrialists and adventurers, fishermen and regular people, such as the first man to die in Anacortes (at a time the city had no mortician – or refrigeration).

This book, subtitled “Celebrating 125 Years of Anacortes History,” also helps to celebrate two auspicious anniversaries: the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Anacortes American and, one year later, the 125th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Anacortes. Can you say quasquicentennial?

The book was edited by Elaine Walker, a former Anacortes American news editor who worked with Funk on his columns in 2000 and 2001. The publisher is the Anacortes Museum Foundation, with generous funding from the Nancy Mathews Publication Endowment. The price is an affordable $25. Copies are available at the Anacortes Museum and other local book outlets.

Wallie Funk was born in 1922 in Anacortes, where he lives today. As editor and co-publisher of the Anacortes American and the Whidbey News-Times, he had a distinguished career advocating for his home towns. For his civic accomplishments, he has been honored by the Skagit Bar Association, Oak Harbor Navy League, University of Washington Department of Communication, Skagit Valley College and the Anacortes Arts Festival, among others.

Photo: John Webber and Wallie Funk inspect the first copy of the Anacortes American to roll off a used press purchased from a Nelson, B.C., newspaper. That was in 1952 when it replaced a hand-fed relic that was rejected by three museums in the Puget Sound area. Photo by Jim Sneddon of the University of Washington.