Ellen Sumie Funayama, who taught psychology at Gallaudet from 2001 to 2006, passed away on November 6 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was 50 years old. 

Dr. Funamaya, known as Sumi, was born on November 20, 1972 to Hachiro Funayama and Elaine Ohlson in Mililani, near Honolulu. She spent her junior year of high school in Germany, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at the University of Hawaii in 1994. She continued her education at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, earning her Doctor of Philosophy degree in psychology in 2003. At Yale, she studied under Allan R. Wagner, James Rowland Angell Professor Emeritus. 

Dr. Ellen Sumie Funayama

During her five years at Gallaudet, Dr. Funayama taught primarily undergraduates. She is remembered by students and colleagues as rigorous, caring, and compassionate. She was involved in departmental committees and in faculty governance. 

In retirement, she took care of her family, volunteered with her children’s school, dance studio, and band, and pursued arts and crafts, especially crocheting. She made and donated hats to various causes and for a time, had her own business, Sumi’s Craft Corner. 

Dr. Funayama is survived by her husband of 26 years, Dr. Morten Kristiansen, a professor of musicology at Xavier University; twins, a son, Lukas, and a daughter, Lilian; her mother, and a sister.  
A celebration of Dr. Funayama’s life will be held on Saturday, December 9 at 1 p.m. ET at Anderson Hills Church, Salem Campus, 6137 Salem Road, Cincinnati, Ohio. The service will be followed by visitation and fellowship from 2 to 3:30 p.m. ET.  

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Ehlers-Danlos Society or a charity of your choice. 

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