PULLMAN, Wash. – Karl Franklin Munson, 87, of Pullman, Wash., passed away on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, at the Bella Vista Adult Family Home in Pullman.
Karl was born Sept. 10, 1925, in Champaign, to John and Maude Belle (Lechtner) Munson. He grew up on the University of Illinois farm, where his father was the beef cattle manager. Karl graduated from Champaign High School.
He was drafted into the Army during his first few weeks of college. Karl defended his country in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II and was rescued on Christmas Eve by Gen. George Patton's army. He suffered severe frostbite and
was hospitalized for months - his feet being saved by a brand-new drug called penicillin.
Upon returning to civilian life, Karl earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from the University of
Illinois. He married Barbara Starkey in 1951 in Champaign.
Karl spent most of his professional life working as a parks and recreation extension specialist, first at the state level and then for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. Along the way, he earned a master's degree from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in parks and recreation.
After retiring from the federal government at age 54, Karl very much enjoyed a second career as a clinical faculty member at the University of Maryland, the University of Missouri and Southwest Missouri State University. Prior to moving to Pullman, Karl and Barbara spent their early retirement years in Bentonville, Ark., and Palmetto, Fla.
Karl was actively involved in the Methodist Church throughout his life. He did a lot of work with 4-H clubs as a young adult, and he was an officer of the Lions Club while in Arkansas.
He was an avid reader and a huge sports enthusiast. He played golf regularly and coached youth soccer for a number
of years. Karl attended numerous sporting events, both of his children and of college and pro athletes. Karl became a loyal Washington State University Cougar fan after moving to Pullman in 2000. He attended literally hundreds of Cougar basketball, football, volleyball, soccer and baseball games.
Karl is survived by two adopted children, Chuck Munson and his wife, Kim, of Pullman and Robin Jerge and her husband, David, of Fredericksburg, Va.; six grandchildren, Charlene (Jerge) Taylor, Madeline, Wesley and Josephine Jerge, and Christopher and Mark Munson; a brother-in-law, Bill Starkey of Champaign; and a niece and nephew, Pam and David Starkey.
A funeral service will be held at 6 p.m. today (Monday, Nov. 26) at Kimball Funeral Home, Pullman. A visitation will precede the service for one hour.
Karl will be laid to rest in Rantoul at a later date.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association. An online guest book is at www.kimballfh.com . Kimball Funeral Home, Pullman, is caring for the family.