Malcolm and Annette Funn – Over 40 Years of Experience Engaged in Volunteer Community Service
I have anticipated preparing this story for several weeks now as I have heard from several folks about what a wonderful, beautiful couple this week’s personalities are and to be prepared for their wealth of experience and contributions they have made to their community! I knew this was going to be a “fun” experience, but I really wasn’t ready for the enormous body of work Malcolm and Annette Funn have accomplished with their lives together! They have a remarkable story and I feel very privileged to have an opportunity to sit down with them over lunch and marvel over their vast experience and overwhelming involvement with others, not only here in our little part of paradise, but throughout the world as they have travelled to all the far corners of the globe!
Malcolm and Annette were not born here; Malcolm arrived at the age of six months when his dad returned to his position as Principal of William Sampson Brooks High School soon after the end of WWII in 1945. Annette’s arrival was a little more dramatic having grown up in Northumberland County on the Northern Neck of Virginia. They were married while attending Virginia State College, now Virginia State University and Annette claims Malcolm dragged her to Calvert County kicking and screaming all the way!!! But the rural county of 1963 was nothing like the beautiful progressive, pastoral, bucolic, and growing community it became at the start of the 21st Century. Quoting Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Malcolm claims “there is no place like home”. So they returned here once more in 1999 to start another chapter in their lives and raise their son.
Their early years involved completing their educations and then settling down to raising their family. Malcolm went back and received his degree from Bowie State in History with a minor in Mathematics in 1971. He followed that with a Law Degree from Catholic University in DC in 1974. Annette did her undergraduate work at VSC and went to work for the Federal Government, becoming a microbiologist for the US Food and Drug Administration, completing graduate courses at the Universities of Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Her multifaceted work took her around the world to such countries as Peru, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands in South America while working at The Smithsonian Institute for two years in Oceanography.
They initially settled in Prince Georges County and immediately became active in the Kent Baptist Church in Landover. Annette’s first community involvement was with the local PG County League of Women Voters. She became involved with the Business & Professional Women’s Federation, helped charter the new Central Chapter there and founded the PG Chapter of the National Council for Negro Women. And this was just a start in her long time association leading and managing many nonprofit organizations.
Malcolm initially started his career in 1967 as a Communication Consultant with C&P Telephone in DC, then as a consultant with Metropolitan Life in Suitland in 1968. Upon receiving his Law Degree, he became a Tax Law Specialist with the Internal Revenue Service and moved up to Senior Attorney in the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel where he worked for 18 years before retiring in 2004. Wow, I bet I could devote several columns to his experiences in this role! Maybe I will start a new series about the greatest stories ever told one day. When I do, I think I would like to sit down over a few drinks and just listen!!!
These two brilliant people obviously enjoyed great professional careers, but it’s their immense amount of volunteer work that impresses me! To look at their long history of involvement in the community reads like a “Who’s Who” of Maryland. Malcolm’s current roles include several positions with the Bayside Baptist Church, member of the Calvert County Board of License Commissioners known as the “Liquor Board” [more interesting stories here I am sure], Calvert County Planning Commission, Director, President and Member of the W.S. Brooks High School Alumni Association and its All Class Reunion Committee, and member of the “Closing The [Achievement] Gap Coalition. Malcolm is a Life Member of the NAACP and the Concerned Black Men of Calvert County. He previously held positions with the Board of Elections of Chesapeake Beach as Chairman, and the Calvert County Citizens Advisory Committee.
Not to be out done, Annette has had a number of positions within the community as well. She currently serves as Vice Chair for the Calvert Commission for Women, appointed by the Governor of Maryland as the Commissioner of the Judicial Compensation Commission, League of Women Voters where she has served as a State Board Member and Director of the Calvert County Board, co-founder of the Concerned Black Women of Calvert, Closing the Gap [Education] Gap, and many more interesting and worthwhile groups within the area. She also serves as a Ladies Sunday School Teacher and former Board Secretary for Ruth’s Miracle Group Home Foundation. She is a life member of the NAACP and past State President of the Maryland Federation of Business and Professional Women, the only African American in its 90+ year history. In this capacity, she led delegations to Hawaii [more great stories I am sure], The Hague in the Netherlands and to Auckland, New Zealand. There are many other just as interesting roles she held that I would love to tell.
It has been said of Annette that she is a “Community organizer and leader, a master networker and voice of reason; facilitator and negotiator, strategist, motivator; writer and public speaker; teacher and visionary; encourager and peace maker; patience with a passion for people.” What more is there for me to say? Actually, these words were spoken by Dr. Bradley Gottfried, President of the College of Southern Maryland in 2009 when he interviewed her during his radio show.
In closing, these two have a legacy of good works over their entire lifetimes. The have been recognized with numerous national, state, and locals awards, citations, and letters of accommodations for their countless, superlative efforts in so many fields of endeavor. I can tell you, I needed to pull up every positive adjective in my limited vocabulary just to tell you about a small part of this couple’s contributions. I know they would like for me to mention the Calvert County’s 20th Annual African American Family Community Day here at Jefferson Patterson Park on Saturday, June 13th. Malcolm and Annette, thank you for all of your efforts for so many people. You are two of the most remarkable people I have ever met!
If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.