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Obituary: Bill Munson

4/16/2020

Obituary: Bill Munson, an early and very active club member. RIP
William Lusk Munson

Marathoning through an Honorable Life 

He wasn’t born with a silver spoon, Bill Munson always insisted, but he did admit once running off with his mother’s best sterling flatware for a Boy Scout camping trip. He didn’t realize how valuable the utensils were. 
It was such ingratiating candor that always endeared Bill to clients, friends and kin alike. 
Although Bill grew up in western New York state, he was deeply rooted in Vermont. He was a direct descendant of the Munson clan that settled in the Manchester - Wallingford area in the 1700s. 
Bill, who died April 2 at his home in Sunderland, VT at the age of 81 after a courageous year-long battle against bladder cancer, was a stockbroker and financial adviser with a wide circle of clients that spanned across the country. 
Based at the Morgan Stanley branch in Rutland, he was especially appreciated by clients for his personal qualities. He’d never badger them with phone calls or push them into investments he thought were beyond their means. That may not have yielded the best results for his own bottom line, but it earned him unquestioning loyalty. 
Born William Lusk Munson February 11, 1939 in Olean, NY, he was one of six children (four boys and two girls) of Helen and N.V.V.F. Munson. His father was an independent oil producer in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Oklahoma through family owned companies, the Franchot Trusts, D W Franchot Oil and Marsh Oil Company. His maternal grandfather was the Rev. William B. Lusk, rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Ridgefield, CT. 
Life on the Munson farm in Alleghany, NY could be rough and tumble but filled with fun, especially among the three oldest boys, Edgar, Bill and Nick, who shared a room and many adventures and misadventures. 
Much to his distress, Bill was periodically tasked with the feeding and watering of the family’s two dozen chickens. As a result, his brother Nick recalls, eggs became scarcer at meal time and the poultry leaner whenever it was Bill’s turn to tend the chickens. 
But Bill didn’t slack when he and his brothers were recruited to help in the family business. They worked hard hours in the nearby oil fields, helped their father develop a gas pipeline and often had to hitchhike hundreds of miles back to get back to school. 
He could also rise to the occasion when trouble threatened as when Nick and a friend “borrowed” a pint from the cellar and took off on camping trip to test its effects of them. Bill, ever the straight arrow who didn’t drink or smoke, chaperoned their safe return. 
Bill, who loved the Boy Scouts, rose to Eagle Scout. During summers at his family’s Adirondack camp at Upper St. Regis Lake, NY, he developed a lifelong interest in the outdoors, including hiking, fishing and mountaineering.  
Bill attended The Gunnery in Washington CT, graduating in 1958. He went on to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1962. 
After college, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines, spending six tough months of basic training at Camp Lejeune and continued for years in the Marine Reserves. His first finance job was as a trainee at Bankers Trust in Manhattan, followed by a stint as a sales exec at Xerox until he switched to Merrill Lynch and became a financial adviser. 
During a chance encounter on the Manhattan social scene, he met the love of life, Carol McAleer, a lively young woman from Southport CT and daughter of A. G. and Nancy Stevens McAleer. The couple was married in 1968 in the Adirondacks. 
Bill and Carol established themselves in Manhattan, but that didn’t prevent him from exercising his passion for the strenuous life. In the early 1970s he ran his first New York City Marathon, which then consisted of four grueling loops around Central Park. (By the time he retired his running shoes in his 60s, he had run more than half a dozen marathons, not just in New York but in Ireland, Alaska and Washington, D.C.). 
After the birth of their first daughter, Gillian, they retreated to the more bucolic Princeton, NJ, area. There a second daughter, Emily, followed. Bill joined Shearson Lehman’s office in nearby Lawrenceville but didn’t stay deskbound. He rowed with the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association, helped stage Olympic rowing trials and, with Carol’s encouragement, housed young oarsmen – who, she remembers, didn’t mind squeezing into the kiddie-sized bunk beds left behind when their daughters went off to college. 
Naturally shy and understated, Bill became an entertaining raconteur by regularly attending luncheons of Toastmasters International, which encourages members’ public speaking and leadership skills. He displayed his talent with touching toasts at formal occasions, notably the weddings of his daughters. 
Neither winter storms nor sweltering summers kept him from making the daily 40-mile predawn drive to Rutland to catch Wall Street before its opening. Bill zealously followed the markets’ ups and downs by pouring through Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal and other financial chronicles. On Sundays he refreshed himself by watching pro football. Even at 80, he could still be seen skiing at Bromley Mountain. 
Bill also had a spiritual side. After moving to Vermont in 2002 and taking over his in-laws’ old Sunderland farmhouse, Bill and Carol became active parishioners at the Zion Episcopal Church in nearby Manchester. Bill became a member of the vestry and enjoyed few activities more than portraying one of Three Kings in the church’s annual Christmas Nativity pageant, much to the giggles of his grandkids. 
In addition to his wife Carol and their daughters and husbands, Gillian (Taylor White) of Manhattan and Emily (Michael Richardson) of Renton WA, Bill is survived by three grandchildren, Tegan White and Will and Addie Richardson; four siblings, Nicholas F. Munson, Monie Munson, Sheilah Taylor and Thomas Munson, plus numerous nieces and nephews.  
The Munson family offers its heartfelt thanks to the Morgan Stanley team in Rutland,, who unwaveringly supported Bill, and the Bayada Hospice Care team, whose gentle and capable caregivers enabled Bill to stay home until the end of his life. 
In light of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, the Munson family regrets it will be unable to hold a formal memorial service. The family hopes to honor Bill with a virtual ceremony and later a remembrance in the Adirondacks this summer. 
In lieu of honoring him with flowers during this pandemic, the family prefers you donate to Zion Episcopal Church in Manchester, VT or a charity of your choice that reminds you of Bill.  
c/o Brewster-Shea Funeral Home P.O. Box 885 Manchester Center, VT 05255


 

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