Dave Funston, manager, national fleet operations for Mazda North American Operations, passed away on April 1, 2021, following a three-year battle with colon cancer.  He was 61. 

Funston joined Mazda North American Operations in January 2013 as the manager of its national fleet operations, a position he held until his death.  He has the distinction, to date, of being  longest reining fleet manager in the history of Mazda North American Operations.

Dave Funston

Dave Funston

Prior to joining Mazda, Funston was president of his own company -- Funston Fleet Services, Inc.  – which he founded and operated from 2002 to 2013. Funston Fleet Services served as a “middle man” assisting small daily rental licensees in vehicle acquisition negotiations with OEMs, managing license & title, and remarketing of rental vehicles at auction.

Born on Nov. 23, 1959, Funston was a native Californian who attended Bishop Amat Catholic High School and was a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in the field of organizational behavior. While attending USC, Funston was elected president of the Delta Chi Fraternity.

Growing up as an only child, Funston’s mother worked at an auto dealership and was instrumental in drawing him into the automotive industry. Funston’s first big job was working for General Motors as a region service rep, which he did for two years. While calling on dealerships, Funston met Susan his future wife of 41 years.

Funston left GM in 1988 when he was hired by Hyundai Motor America to serve as its national manager, fleet/remarketing & distribution. He worked at Hyundai Motor America for 10 years until 1998.

In 1998, Funston was hired by American Isuzu Motors, as it executive manager, fleet & remarketing, a position he held from 1998 to 2002. While working with daily rental companies, Funston saw a need among smaller daily rental licensees for assistance in vehicle acquisition and disposal, which was the catalyst for the founding of Funston Fleet Services, which he operated for 11 years until recruited by Mazda, where he worked for the final eight years of his life.

In preparing for retirement, in August 2018, Funston and his wife bought a ranch home in Prescott, Arizona. The ranch had a horse stable, which was important to Funston because of his love of horses and the outdoors. Fusnton was an avid hunter.

In November 2018, while working at Mazda, Funston was diagnosed with colon cancer. Despite the pain associated with the colon cancer, Funston remained very active in both his personal and professional life, continuing to work at Mazda up to a week before his death.

In addition to his wife Susan, Funston is survived by two adult children, his daughter Stephanie who works a social worker in Sacramento, Calif., and his son Dennis, who works in the auction industry in Southern California.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

About the author
Mike Antich

Mike Antich

Former Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Global Fleet of Hal in 2022. He also won the Industry Icon Award, presented jointly by the IARA and NAAA industry associations.

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