I am the mother of Tara Squitiro and Andrew, the wife of Mark Funkhouser and a first lady of Kansas City, Missouri. I began my career in Bethpage, New York at age 10 selling cosmetics door-to-door. At 15, I took a job as a dishwasher in an Italian restaurant in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and from there I held various waitress jobs in several states across the country. My career skyrocketed after earning my bachelors in psychology in 1982 and I became an office manager for a chain of McDonald’s restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee.
After two unnecessary cesarean sections, I founded BirthWays, where I taught over 500 couples how to have safe, natural, beautiful births. Students and hospital administrators alike regarded me as a renegade in that field. During the 17 years I ran this business I witnessed over 100 births, and was blessed to have caught a few of those babies myself.
In 2008, I achieved a rare distinction. I became the only first lady in America to be legally banned from the City Hall office where her husband, the mayor, worked. Both before and after that bizarre event, I had hundreds of articles and a few feature stories written about me in the local newspaper, The Kansas City Star, and in many other local publications. I have appeared in national and international publications, including a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal, a feature story in The New York Times and in many AP wire-service stories, including USA Today, The Washington Post, and even The Guardian in the United Kingdom. I am unintentionally published in Harper’s Magazine.
I have appeared on many local and a few national broadcast media programs, including Good Morning America, NPR’s All Things Considered, Fox and Friends and MSNBC. And, ewww!, Rush Limbaugh has done a lengthy piece about me.
During my husband’s mayoral campaign, I became his campaign manager by default. The title came with many duties, not the least of which included writing a weekly e-newsletter, News From The DoubleWide, which had more than 4,000 subscribers.
After my husband took office I remained one of his top political advisors; collaborating with political consultants, journalists, marketing and public relation-types and with his communication team in writing the mayor’s speeches and opinion pieces. I continued to write a weekly e-newsletter, Notes from Funk’s Front Porch, which had over 3500 subscribers. The newsletter provided the people of Kansas City with an unusually honest and personal look inside the mayor’s office.
Today, I am writing a two-book memoir about the above experiences and more.