Dr. Robert M. Funkhouser, a physician and surgeon of St. Louis who has also been connected with the educational activities of the profession and who is now largely concentrating his time and energies upon surgery, was born in St. Louis, December 10, 1850. His father, Robert M. Funkhouser, was a native of Illinois and of Swiss descent, the family being founded in America by John and Christopher Funkhouser, who came to the new world in 1698 and first settled in Fredericktown, Virginia. Among the ancestors of the family were five who participated in the Revolutionary war. The family is also directly related to Daniel Boone. Robert M. Funkhouser, the father, was reared and educated in Illinois and came to Missouri early in the nineteenth century, his birth having occurred at Equality, Illinois, in 1817. Establishing his home in-St. Louis he was a successful merchant of the city for a period of fifty years and passed away in New York city in 1898, at the notable old age of eighty. In politics be was always a stanch democrat and on one occasion refused the nomination for the mayoralty of St. Louis. He took a prominent and active part in public affairs, however, and in many ways was an influential factor in shaping general progress and improvement in the city. He served at one time as president of the Chamber of Commerce and was a leading factor in the political and civic life of the city. He married Sarah Johnson Selmes, who was born in New Yoik city, and was of English lineage, a daughter of Tilden Russell Selmes, the latter an own cousin of Premier Russell of England. Mr. and Mrs. Funkhouser became the parents of six children, five sons and a daughter, of whom Dr. Funkhouser was the second in order of birth. The mother survived her husband for about two years, passing away in St. Louis in the summer of 1900, at the age of seventy.
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Dr. Funkhouser acquired his primary education in the public schools of St. Louis and also studied under private tutorship. Later he entered the University of Virginia and was graduated on the completion of a course in modern languages. He next entered Dartmouth College and also studied at Columbia University in New York city, winning the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Dartmouth and the Bachelor of Law degree from Columbia. His professional degree was obtained upon the completion of a medical course in the New York University in 1874 and following his graduation he served for a year as an interne on Blackwell’s Island and in the Bellevue Hospital. On the completion of his interneship he returned to St. Louis and entered upon private practice, making steady advancement in his profession as his ability became recognized by the general public. He was also appointed to the professorship of surgery and anatomy in the Beaumont Hospital College of St. Louis and was visiting surgeon to the City Hospital for a number of years. He likewise filled the office of coroner of St. Louis for two terms.
Dr. Funkhouser was married in this city to Miss Virginia Cantrell. His second marriage was with Miss Alice Cantrell, who died June 7, 1918. She had been president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy. By this marriage was born one child, Dr. Selmes Paul Funkhouser, who is a graduate of Cornell University and also of the medical department of Washington University and who served as an interne in the Bellevue Hospital urological department. He is at present interne of the New York Skin and Cancer Hospital.
In his political views Dr. Robert M. Funkhouser has always been a stanch democrat. Fraternally he belongs to Keystone Lodge, No. 243, A. F. & A. M., and is an honorary thirty-third degree Mason. During the World war he was a member of the Medical Reserve Corps with the rank of captain. Along professional lines he is connected, with the St. Louis and Missouri State Medical Societies, both of which have honored him with the presidency, also with the American Medical Association and is a fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. While he has always read broadly and studied closely along the line of his profession, he has also found much delight in general literature and his chief recreation has come to him through the study of languages and through his literary work, for he is the author of a book of poems published in 1920. Moreover, he is the possessor of a wonderful collection of rare books and has always found delight in the companionship of the master minds of all ages. His life has been characterized by high ideals and he has found his friends among those people who are never content to choose the second best.