Brad Thornhill Funk

Flags were lowered to half-staff Saturday as the state honored a fallen soldier with ties to Utah.

Maj. Brad "Gyro" Thornhill Funk, 35, died May 1, when his T-38 jet crashed at Sheppard Air Force Base, in Wichita Falls, Texas, during training exercises. Family has said he died doing what he loved: flying, teaching and serving his country.

Funk had achieved the Top Gun award in his fighter fundamental training and was recently selected to attend Advanced Officer School. He was a member of the Air Force One support team as an advance agent.

"Major Funk was an exceptional leader who exemplified the Air Force's core values of integrity, service and excellence," said Col. David Peterson, Sheppard's 80th Flying Training Wing Commander. "It was my privilege to work closely with him. He was the example of what it means to be an officer and a gentleman."

Funk was born at Webb Air Force Base in Howard, Texas and graduated from high school in Del Rio. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Funk landed in Salt Lake City, where he met and married Jennifer R. Thompson. Funk and his wife had three daughters, Tyler, 13, Sophia, 2, and 6-month-old Addison.

Before Saturday's funeral services in Roy, a memorial service was held at the Sheppard Air Force Base last week. Funk was buried with military honors at the Warren Cemetery in Weber County.

Funk is survived by his wife and children; father and stepmother, Craig and Dorothy Funk; stepfather and stepmother, Robert and MaryAnn Gilliland; two brothers, two sisters, a stepbrother and stepsister as well as 29 nieces and nephews — spread through Utah and Texas.

Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. authorized the lowering of the national and state flags Saturday from sunrise to sunset in honor of Funk's service.


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com