Concord, NH – John, “Jack” H. Munson died peacefully at Concord Hospital on February 8, 2022 in Concord, NH at the age of 88.
Jack was born on September 23rd, 1933 to Harold and Ruth (Jones) Munson in Mitchell, South Dakota “where the town stopped next to an endless wheat field.” He distinctly remembers moving to Vandalia, Ohio to attend school with his beloved Aunt Thelma where there was indoor plumbing, “a rarity on the prairie.”
Jack attended DePauw University as an Edward Rector scholar graduating in 1955 with a degree in English as well as significant accomplishments in music (clarinet, piano, tenor). While at DePauw, Jack’s organizational skills became clear, putting together one New York Trip for classmates to see Ed Sullivan in Dress Rehearsal and another to Washington, DC where he and other young educators met with President Dwight Eisenhower and former President Herbert Hoover.
Jack married Peggy Titus, his college sweetheart and fellow music lover, in 1956. The couple moved to Vandalia, Ohio where Jack worked first for a local moving company and later as a high school English teacher before being recruited by the US Navy for Officer Training School. Jack’s naval career would send these midwestern sweethearts east to become Yankees. Their family grew with son Jeff, born in Newport, RI and daughter, Lisa, born in Norfolk, VA. In a tour in Puerto Rico they met the artist John St. John, who cultivated in them a love of fine art and became a lifelong friend.
Though Jack left the service for a time to try his hand at teaching, he was called back in and served with distinction during the Vietnam conflict, and in his time was stationed at Officer Candidate School as in instructor, the USS BASILONE, the USS UVALDE, The USS WACCAMAW, the USS BOSTON, the USS HARLAN R. DICKSON, the staff of Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, and the Naval Training Center Newport, RI where he was awarded the Naval Commendation Medal for meritorious service.
Following his (first) retirement in 1978, Lt Commander Munson worked for 17 years in technical writing at Logicon-Syscon where he developed Munson’s Maxim, “problems are organismic by nature and ought not to be tampered with.” He also taught courses at Salve Regina College. In the 1990s they were drawn to what Jack called “The Colors of Comfort, “…The glorious blaze of a New England Autumn with the power to evoke tears for the beauty and the promise of eventual seasonal renewal-Reds, oranges, and yellows running riot.” He and Peggy began construction of their second dream home in the Oakledge community of Sunapee, New Hampshire.
As half of a socially gregarious couple, Jack was an active and dedicated member of Calvary United Methodist Church in Middletown Rhode Island where he served as Lay Leader for many years. He thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Newport RI Lions club, serving a turn as president. In New Hampshire Jack found the freedom of boating on Lake Sunapee, the joy of attending musicals at The Barn Playhouse, another Lions club, and a new set of wonderful friends. He was active first at South Church in Newport and later, upon moving into New London, at First Baptist. He found a true calling in Kearsarge Regional Ecumenical Ministries and returned to his earlier love of poetry via local classes.
His family remember Jack as a dry and intelligent wit who delighted in word play and as a most excellent grandfather. His friends remember he and Peggy as fabulous hosts. His communities celebrated the musical gifts these two shared. In one of his final poems, Jack wrote:
“What we choose to remember is not always
The way it was.
But it’s a good story
And we’ll stick to it.”
John Herbert Munson is predeceased by his wife of 59 years, Peggy Munson, parents Ruth (Jones) Munson, Harold Munson, and stepmother Carol (Whitcomb) Munson, and beloved aunts, Thelma Munson Chenoweth and Esther Whitcomb Noble. Survivors include his daughter Lisa Munson of Deerfield, NH and son, CDR Jeffrey J Munson USN retired with wife Karen Munson, grandchildren Joel Munson and wife Liz Calderon Munson of West Roxbury MA; Elin Zapka and husband Nate Zapka of Whately, MA; Sara Patterson and husband David Patterson II of Vancouver Washington. Jack’s pride and joy were his great grandchildren Jack Zapka, Emily Zapka, David Patterson III and Rosalee Ann Patterson.
A Graveside Service with a reception to follow will be schedule in the summer. Rev. Dr. Karen L. Munson will officiate the ceremony. All are welcome to attend, celebrating and telling the story of Jack’s life.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Kearsarge Regional Ecumenical Ministries (KREM) P. O. Box 1465 New London, NH 03257 www.nhkrem.org