Cover photo for Charles Elliot Munat's Obituary
Charles Elliot Munat Profile Photo
Charles

Charles Elliot Munat

d. June 6, 2009

"Chuck" died on June 6, 2009, at Island Health and Rehabilitation Center on Bainbridge Island, from complications of Lewy body dementia, from which he had suffered for many years.Chuck was born on April 25, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois, to Stanley Hermann Hinz Munat and Margaret Katherine (Colahan) Munat. He attended public schools in Chicago, graduating from Harper High School in 1952 as class president and yearbook editor. In June 1956 he earned a bachelor's degree in English from Loyola University of Chicago. The same month he married Isabel Patricia Culhane in Rockford, Illinois. After serving two years in the U.S. Army in Georgia, Chuck and Pat returned to Chicago where they raised their three children: Charles, Isabel, and Ben. For ten years Chuck taught high school English, mostly in Chicago's inner city, as well as adult school, GED classes, and summer school. He was a much-respected educator who loved teaching "disadvantaged" students. Chuck moonlighted as a janitor at a local Montessori school to earn his children's tuition there; at the same time he became President of the Illinois Montessori Association. Soon after he earned his masters degree in Inner City Studies.Chuck was active in the civil rights movement and attended the 1963 March on Washington with his college friend and fellow teacher, Leon Hayes. He participated in marches in Chicago and Milwaukee for fair housing, racial equality, peace, and against the war in Vietnam. In 1969 Chuck and Pat divorced, and Chuck moved to Middletown, Connecticut, to begin a career as a writer and editor of a high school classroom newspaper, "You and Your World," which was intended for a readership of high school students who read at a third to fifth grade reading level. The company also published "My Weekly Reader."In November 1969, he and Florence Margaret "Florrie" Howe were married in a ceremony held next to a waterfall in Moodus, Connecticut. In 1971, their son Ted was born. Chuck often said the best year of his life was 1977 when he took a year's paid social service leave from his writing job to work as a volunteer at Connecticut's school for adjudicated teenagers. There he counseled, taught, and founded a student newspaper called "The Nameless News" because students could not legally be identified by their surnames. During his children's high school years, the Munat family hosted four foreign exchange students. Chuck was an active volunteer with the local AFS Intercultural Programs club for many years.In 1979, Chuck began working at Greater Hartford Community College, where he taught communication skills in a pre-nursing program that prepared African American and Latino students for careers in nursing. In 1989 Chuck and Florrie moved to Bainbridge Island where he retired, but worked ceaselessly on genealogical projects. He was a meticulous genealogist who helped many people research their family trees. He also loved to travel, particularly to New Zealand and in the American West. He was an avid birder and nature lover, and enjoyed photographing birds and landscapes. During his retirement he wrote a family newsletter called "Us and Our World," which he sent to over 75 friends and family members. Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Florence Howe Munat of Bainbridge Island; son Charles Francis Munat of Seattle; daughter Isabel Anne Munat Cole of Federal Way; son Benedict Joseph Munat and wife Kate Breimayer of Portland, Oregon; son Edward Colahan Munat of Seattle; granddaughter Isabel Alexandra Cole of Federal Way; grandson Jake "Sharky" Munat of Seattle; sister Judith Elaine Munat of Florence, Italy; sister Audrey Paris Tessier of El Monte, California; sister-in-law Clare Brennan Munat of Landgrove, Vermont; son-in-law James Cole of Federal Way; daughters-in-law hnoi Latthitham of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Lillie Addams of Seattle, foreign exchange student sons James Travers of Wellington, New Zealand; Daniel Lenggenhager of Bern, Switzerland; and David Thompson of Washington, DC, and St. John, Barbados; and several nieces and nephews. Chuck was predeceased by his brother, Stanley Harcourt Munat, of Landgrove, Vermont, and his sister, Helen Paris Gray, of Whittier, California.In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (912 Killian Hill Rd. Suite 202C, Liburn, GA 30047; www.lbda.org), or Hospice of Kitsap County (PO Box 3416, Silverdale, WA 98383). A celebration of Chuck's life will be held at Grace Episcopal Church on Day Road, Bainbridge Island, on July 19 at 3:00 p.m. All are welcome.

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