Dr. Mark Funt, established Stony Brook University's OB-GYN residency, dies at 75
Patients, friends and colleagues remembered Dr. Mark Funt on Sunday as a kind person, a devoted family man and a top-notch obstetrician and gynecologist who is gone too soon.
Funt, 75, of Setauket, was killed Friday morning in a single-vehicle accident in Cavendish, Vermont, a rural town near Okemo State Forest.
Vermont State Police said Funt was driving an Arctic Cat snowmobile along Main Street when he crashed and suffered fatal injuries shortly before 11:30 a.m. The crash remains under investigation, police said in a news release.
Funt was recruited to Stony Brook University Hospital from the Yale University School of Medicine, where he was an assistant professor in 1978, according to his longtime business partner Dr. Robert O’Keefe. Funt was the chief of gynecology and director of resident education services at Stony Brook University when the hospital began delivering babies shortly after opening in 1980, according to the Stony Brook Medicine website.
Funt also established the OB-GYN residency program at Stony Brook, where O’Keefe was the first intern in 1980. The program has graduated 162 physicians since its inception, 53 of whom still practice on Long Island, O’Keefe said.
“That’s quite a legacy,” O’Keefe said.
In 1982, Funt founded Stony Brook Gynecology and Obstetrics P.C. and continued to deliver babies at the hospital. The private practice, which includes five other doctors, two midwives and four nurse practitioners, formally joined Stony Brook Medicine’s network of community practices in 2018.
“He was my mentor, he was my partner and most of all, he was my friend,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe said Funt stopped delivering babies in 2003. But he estimated Funt oversaw thousands of live births in his earlier years.
Laura D’Angelo, 62, formerly of Mount Sinai and now living in the Harbor Beach neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said she began as a patient of Funt's in 2005 when she was 45. He noticed a lump in her breast on her first visit and urged her to get it checked immediately. It was cancer.
He referred her to a surgeon and followed her closely while she successfully underwent chemotherapy and radiation, D’Angelo said.
“I had never met him before, and lo and behold, there it was,” she said. “I owe him my life.”
William Carman, a former Montauk lobsterman wholives in Palm City, Florida, co-owned his boat The Glass Slipper with Funt. He said the doctor invested in his business at a time when the Long Island lobster industry was on the decline in the late ’90s.
Carman, who said he would rarely go more than a week without speaking to the doctor, said he cherished his memories of days spent laughing and fishing on boats with Funt — and the lobster dinners that followed.
“He was just the nicest man in the world,” Carman said. “He was kind to other people; he loved helping people out. We were best friends for life.”
Funt made the news on July 4, 1990, when he delivered the first daughter of then-Suffolk County Executive Patrick Halpin.
Halpin recalled Funt as an experienced doctor whose expertise his family had “great confidence in.” Six years later, he also delivered their second child.
During the first birth, Halpin’s former wife, Debra, was in labor for 24 hours, eventually giving birth to a healthy 9-pound, 12-ounce, baby on Independence Day. Halpin recalled that Funt was at their side for the entirety of the daylong birth.
“That’s the kind of doctor he was,” Halpin said.
Funt is survived by his wife, Mary, of Setauket; three sons, Seth of Bristol, Rhode Island, Jared of Setauket, and Jordan of West Palm Beach, Florida; and eight grandchildren.
Service arrangements were not available.