March 28, 1921 – Feb. 18, 2013
Donald Whitney Munson, principal at Amherst Central High School for nearly 20 years, died Monday in Asbury Pointe retirement community, Getzville. He was 91.
Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of East High School and Buffalo State Teachers College. He earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Buffalo and took additional courses at Cornell University, the University of Rochester and Canisius College.
Mr. Munson joined the faculty at Amherst High in 1945 as an industrial arts teacher after working at Curtiss-Wright Corp. during World War II.
He became a guidance counselor in 1948 and director of guidance counseling two years later.
He served as acting principal in 1956 and assistant principal in 1957 before he was named principal in 1961. He retired in 1980.
He was a past president of the New York State Association of Secondary School Principals, the New York State Association of Secondary School Administrators and the Amherst Retired Teachers Association.
He served as a visiting professor at St. Lawrence University, Hobart College, Alfred University and Plattsburgh State College.
Mr. Munson was an All-American cross-country runner at Buffalo State and was the Amateur Athletic Union national junior cross-country champion in 1943, winning the 10,000-meter event in Bowling Green, Ohio. He was Niagara District AAU cross-country champion for three years and was two-mile champion for one year. He set five cross-country records as a sophomore and was captain of that year’s undefeated team.
He was a track and cross-country coach at Amherst High for 10 years and coached track and cross-country at Buffalo State for five years. He was inducted into the Buffalo State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986.
A resident of Amherst and North Chester, Mass., in the Berkshires, he was an active member of Central Park Methodist Church and Christ United Methodist Church, the Lions Club and the Amherst Central Alumni Foundation, which gave him its Distinguished Educator Emeritus Award in 2004. He also was a member of Phi Delta Kappa, a professional organization for educators, and the Rotary Club.
His first wife, the former Marian Mollnow, a teacher, died in 1969.
Surviving are his wife of 39 years, the former Ruth Pilgrim; three sons, D. Garry, Glenn W. and John Pilgrim Osborn; and two daughters, Marilyn Munson Crone and Pamela Munson Tierney.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday in Christ United Methodist Church, 350 Saratoga Road, Amherst.