I finally found evidence of a story my grandmother told me. When she told me how her grandfather Joseph Funston died, she said that the newspaper reported it as a suicide and that his sons were so incensed by this false reporting that they stormed down to the newspaper office to demand a retraction.
All of the newspaper articles I have found up until now never mentioned one way or another whether his death was an accident or suicide. Today I found a small item on the bottom of page 16 of the January 1, 1921 Night Extra issue of the Evening Public Ledger:
It’s worth noting that the death certificate differs in both the cause of death and his age:
We’ll never know the true story of what happened that New Year’s Eve night. Despite the response of my grandmother’s uncles it could very well have been a suicide, or perhaps after a little too much celebration he accidentally left the gas jet on. Whatever the case, I am wondering why he had $50 in his pocket, which is about $665 in today’s dollars, and more than I would expect my elderly boxmaker great-grandfather to be carrying around.