Robert Charles Munson
Robert Charles Munson, 93, affectionately known as "Bob," "Uncle Bob" and "Grandpa Bob," died from complications from a fall on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, at St. Luke's Hospital surrounded by his loving family. Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Cedar Memorial. A family service with military honors will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. in the Chapel of Memories at Cedar Memorial.
Bob was born July 8, 1926, in Kanawha, Iowa. He was one of 10 children born to Ole and Leonora Munson, who immigrated here from Norway in 1914 and 1916. Ole and Leonora met and married in Kanawha, where they raised their family together until Ole's sudden death when Bob was only 8 years old. Bob grew up in Kanawha where, according to him, he had a tortured youth, partly because of having seven sisters and partly because of his account of having to walk 3 miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways.
In the summer of 1943, as World War II was in full swing and Bob was preparing to enter his senior year of high school, he decided to join the U.S. Navy. His mother signed the waiver and he was off to serve on floating dry docks in the Pacific, based in Tiburon, Calif. When the war ended, Bob returned to Kanawha to complete his senior year. The school board denied his petition explaining they thought he might be "too worldly," and a seasoned Navy man might corrupt the students. When a local politician heard about the board's decision, he made a visit to the school board and their decision promptly was reversed. Bob completed his senior year. After graduation he was asked whether he ever had corrupted a student. Bob's ready answer was, "No. Not ever. But I may have corrupted a teacher or two."
Bob moved to Cedar Rapids to work as an electrician where his sister, Viva and her husband, Keith Smith, lived. It was there he met his dear friends Les and Marjorie "Petie" Jones. Les would introduce Bob to his feisty secretary, June Perdue. They would court at Stickney's Kozy Inn, and in June of 1953 they were married. They had four children.
Bob worked for a local electrician when he became friends with a man who shared his passion for electronics. That man was Arthur Collins. In 1964, Art told Bob he needed an electrical contractor at his business and Bob and June started Munson Electric. There they worked beside their dear friend and general foreman, Ed Eichler, for 33 years. They operated Munson Electric until their retirement in 1997. The company continues today owned by their youngest son, Erik, and his wife, Becky.
After their retirement, Bob and June spent several years at their lake home in Delhi, Iowa, where a million wonderful family memories were created. In 2007, they made one of their best decisions and moved to Keystone Place in Cedar Rapids. June died there in February 2010 from complications of Alzheimer's. Bob continued to live there until his death. Every day he was treated with dignity and respect and unconditional love by all the staff. The family is eternally grateful for the outstanding care, compassion, friendships and love Bob experienced while there. He always said that in the 12 years he lived at Keystone he never spent one moment regretting the move.
Bob and Signe would go to Perkins every Saturday for brunch and occasionally during the week, accompanied by their dear Keystone friend Sandy Boyer. As much as Bob looked forward to the food, it was the friendships he had with all the Perkins staff he treasured most. They always had a ready smile and a hug for the man who loved hugs.
Bob's service in the Navy was a great source of pride and one of his fondest memories was his trip on the Honor Flight with his best friend/constant companion/daughter, Signe. He was eternally grateful to the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight volunteers who made that trip possible.
Bob and Signe were together nearly every day after June's death and they shared a rare and wonderful bond. His relationship with family friend, Kim Smith was just like father and daughter. Kim saw her "Dad" nearly every weekend as well. She always was there when he needed her. Bob's life was marked by so many wonderful friendships, none more important than his lifelong friendship with his best friend Bill Ferrill of Kansas. Whenever Bob and Bill were reunited, their joy was palpable. Many thanks to Bill's daughter, Carrie, for making sure they maintained their friendship despite the miles.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Ole and Leonora Munson; his wife, June; his beloved son, Gunnar; his nine siblings, Margaret, Lillian, Helen, Opal, Melvin (who died in infancy), Vernon, Viva, Ramona and Donna. Bob said his parents would have had more children, but they ran out of names.
Left behind to honor his legacy of love are his dear friend and sister-in-law, Virginia Svestka; his children, Ole (Julie) Munson of Arizona, Signe (John) Henderson of Cedar Rapids and Erik (Becky) Munson of Toddville; his grandchildren, Odin (Chris) Munson, Robert (Rogan) Benesh, Will Riepe, Gavin Munson, Grant (Emily) Munson, Tracy (Drew) Winegardner, Hillary Munson and Tanner Munson; his great-grandchildren, Ashton (Jon) Espinoza, Aspen (Ruben) Chavez, Jaxon Munson, Shaylin Munson, Gunnar Munson, and his ginger-haired beauty, Delilah Winegardner. He also leaves behind a score of cherished friends, including Steve and Sally Meyer, and many, many, adoring nieces and nephews.
Bob will be remembered as a patriot and a patriarch whose true loves were his country, his family and his friends.
The family would like to express their sincere thanks to Dr. Todd Butler/Laura/Jane, Dr. Bob Struthers, Dr. Sandeep Munjal and Heidi Sandersfeld for years of compassionate care adding quantity and quality to his life. The family would also like to thank the entire staff at St. Luke's Hospital for the tender care during his final days. God bless caregivers.
Memorials may be directed to the Indian Creek Nature Center or The Eastern Iowa Honor Flight.