Ralph "Gene" Munson
COLUMBIA — Ralph "Gene" Munson wasn't just a professor of entomology; he was a storyteller.
"He didn't just teach a lesson," said Wayne Bailey, Munson's close friend and former co-worker. "He told it in an almost story-like way that had people on the edge of their seats."
It was his ability to relate to people that made him a great professor, Bailey said.
Ralph "Gene" Munson of Columbia died Wednesday, June 22, 2011, at University Hospital. He was 79.
He was born on June 12, 1932, in Barry County to Earl and Fairel Munson.
Dr. Munson was raised in Crane, where he graduated from high school. He started college at MU but was drafted into the Army in 1952. He served his tour of duty in Korea as a cook in the artillery until 1954.
On Jan. 29, 1955, he married Dorothy Schwarz Munson.
Dr. Munson went on to earn a bachelor's degree in science in 1957 and a master's degree in science in 1962, both from MU. In 1967, he attended Iowa State University, where he earned a doctoral degree in entomology.
"He was far ahead of his time in looking at whole ecology systems and not just one part," Bailey said. "He really enjoyed the work, and he did it well."
Dr. Munson was a professor emeritus of entomology at MU, where he worked for 40 years. He worked with farmers, producers, researchers and MU Extension workers and agricultural chemical representatives until he retired in 1996.
"He taught me a lot of real entomology," Bailey said. "He was one of my best resources when there was something I'd never seen before. He was a very important person to me, and he will be missed by many."
Mr. Munson is survived by his wife of 56 years, Dorothy Schwarz Munson; his son, Jeffery E. Munson and wife, Glenda, of Columbia; his daughter, Donna Marie Thomasand husband, Joel, of Columbia; two brothers, Robert Munson of Nixa and Derril Munson of Bois D'Arc; five grandchildren, Holly Flynn, Heather Munson, Boen Quinlan, Cole Quinlan and Trey Quinlan; and five great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Praise Assembly of God, 4300 Clark Lane. Services will follow at the church at 7 p.m. with Pastor Dennis Stuart officiating. Inurnment will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at Missouri Veteran's Cemetery in Ozark, Mo.
Memorial contributions can be sent to Praise Assembly of God Church, c/o Bach-Yager funeral Chapel, 1610 N. Garth Ave., Columbia, MO 65202.
Condolences can be posted at bachyager.com.