Sunday, August 26, 2007

Guidance counselor Gene Munson passes on

JAMESTOWN, New York, USA - Sue Siecker sent along the obituary today for Gene Munson, A.K.A. Mr. Munson, a guidance counselor to many of us in high school.

He was my guidance counselor and in my early junior high school years intervened with an English teacher who chewed my ass daily for not working hard enough (she was right, I didn't work much, but still...). Later, he got me transferred out of a Math 11 class taught by Milton Harp and into one taught by Ethel Goller.

I still failed Math 11, but I got to sit next to Shelley Kales all year, though I never got up the courage to ask her on a date.

I recounted in a posting last year how it was Gene Munson helped launched my professional career.

When I was doing poorly in a variety of classes, my mother came in for an appointment and had Gene tell her that "the world needs truck drivers, too."

Good God, did my mother make me crack the books after that! She had a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees and wasn't about to let me (also the son of a attorney and linguist) not graduate from college.

To his credit, Gene Munson helped me sneak my way into Villanova and always had a good word for me when I stopped by the office - usually without an appointment. When I dropped out of Villanova, he greased the skids for me to get into JCC without any problems, too, though it was past the deadline.

Rest in peace, Gene, and whack a few golf balls around heaven while you are at it...

Gene Munson
Gene Munson


8/26/2007 - E. Eugene Munson, 92, of the Frewsburg Rest Home, formerly of 124 Aldren Ave., died unexpectedly at 3 p.m. Friday (Aug. 24, 2007) at his residence.

An area resident since 1950 he was born Dec. 31, 1914, in Sheffield, Pa., the son of John and Theresa Dennison Munson.

He was a 1932 graduate of Sheffield Area high School and after a short stint in the working industry he returned to school at Gannon University in Erie, Pa. where he received his bachelor’s degree and in later years received his master’s degree in education from St. Bonaventure University.

He began his teaching career working for one year in Sagertown, Pa. before coming to the Jamestown area in 1950 where he taught at Southwestern Central High School from 1950 to 1980.

Everyone who knew Gene knew that sports were his passion. In earlier years he played independent baseball for several teams in the Erie, Pa. area. He was recruited by the Philadelphia Phillies, only to be injured and unable to play professional baseball. He also played basketball at Gannon University and also for various teams in the Erie area. He did play one year of semi-pro basketball in Erie. Gene was also a well known basketball official in New York and Pennsylvania where he had served as president of the PIAAS Board in PA. and was also the rules interpreter.

He was the basketball coach at Southwestern from 1950 to 1958 and the assistant football coach from 1950-1954. He also had a great love for the game of golf. He was the golf coach at Southwestern from 1957 to 1975. He thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of his coaching career, but his proudest moment was when the Southwestern Golf Team won the New York State Championship in 1975.

He was a charter member of the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Lakewood and was a past president of the local chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons. He was also a past member of the Lakewood Golden Agers, and a member of the New York State Retired Teachers Association.

Surviving is a daughter, Sally Benish (Tim) of Lakewood; his grandson, Kyle Benish of Ellicottville; a brother, Lawrence Munson of Emporium, Pa.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, the former Virginia Carlson Munson, who died Oct. 30, 2006; and four sisters: Florence Munson, Charlotte Hibbard, Marian Schmidlen and Maxine Kosinski.

The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Lakewood. The Rev. Timothy J. Hoyer, pastor will officiate. Burial will be in the Sunset Hill Cemetery. Friends will be received from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday in the Lind Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Building Fund, 35 West Fairmount Ave., Lakewood, NY 14750.