Otto Funk has perhaps done more than any other individual to promote musical culture in Montgomery County, having for a number of years engaged in teaching music in East Fork Township. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, October 6, 1868, a son of Benjamin and Caroline (Krause) Funk, both of whom are natives of Germany. They became residents of Montgomery County in 1881, at which time they settled upon the Jackson farm of four hundred acres, Mr. Funk continuing in its cultivation with good success until 1892, when he removed to Hillsboro, since which time his son Otto has been operating the farm, while the father is now living a retired life in the county seat.
Otto Funk was reared in St. Louis and received four years' training in music there and four years at Konigsberg, Germany, under such distinguished musical educators as Max Brodi, Robert Goldbeck and Theodore Oesten. After studying for some time abroad Mr. Funk returned to the United States and spent two years as a teacher and concert player in St. Louis. He it was who laid the foundation for the love of classical music in Montgomery County. He was instrumental in having the famous quintette club of St. Louis give high class musical entertainments here. The leading members of the club were George Herrick and Alfred G. Robyn. Mr. Funk realized that he could not derive financial benefit from this, but for the love of music and because of a public-spirited desire to educate the people he made a financial sacrifice in order to bring superior musical talent to Montgomery County. At one time he had a very large class of pupils in music, giving as many as two hundred lessens in a month, but he now has only a few scholars as his attention is given to his farming interests. He teaches seven branches of music and is widely recognized as one of the famous representatives of the art in this part of the state, having developed his native powers and talents until he is a superior performer, He plays three hundred selections from memory and when studying he practiced ten hours a day. His income is derived principally from his farm and he is prepared to shelter three hundred head of stock. One winter he sheltered Pawnee Bill's entire Wild West show. He has a fish lake upon his farm covering six acres and the water is eight feet deep. It is his ambition to create a line summer resort and fishery second to none and in one consignment he received two hundred thousand fish, he also operates the second largest ice plant in the county and this is complete in every detail. In his business he displays marked ability, enterprise, sound judgment and unfaltering diligence and he is justly accounted one of the most progressive men of Montgomery County.
Taken From: Past and Present of Montgomery County, Illinois (1904)
On the 20th of May, 1894, Mr. Funk was united in marriage to Miss Della Edwards, a daughter of C. H. Edwards, of Donnellson, and they had four children: Viola, Olga, Rosa and Benjamin. Mr. Funk is a member of the Modern Woodmen camp, also the Mutual Protective League, the Bankers Life Association, the Washington Life Association. His political support is given to the Prohibition Party and he is a staunch advocate of the cause of temperance. In fact, he favors every movement that tends to elevate mankind and to promote the best character development.