Nahant — Mr. Robert J. Munnelly, 79, of Nahant, died Thursday in North Shore Medical Center Salem Hospital with his family at his side. He was the loving husband to Janet L. (Fairbrother) Munnelly, with whom he shared three years of marriage, and the late Carol M. (Casey) Munnelly, with whom he shared 47 years of marriage.
Bob was born in Greenwich, Conn., and was the son of the late Robert J. and Bridget (Leonard) Munnelly. He lived in Nahant for the past 38 years. Bob was a graduate of Fairfield Prep Class of 1951, and New Haven Teachers College, where he received his Bachelor of Scince in 1955. He went on to Fairfield University, where he received his master's degree in education. Bob also attended Harvard University, where he received his doctorate in education in 1973.
Bob was a lifelong educator, serving as classroom teacher and administrator, professor at Northeastern University, superintendent of public schools in Saugus, and both assistant superintendent and superintendent of the Reading Public Schools, until his retirement as superintendent in 1995. Bob was proud of his 27-year record of innovative leadership in Reading, his extensive involvement in curriculum issues through the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, including serving as its president, and his lifelong commitment to arts education for all students. Following his retirement in 1995, Bob stayed active in educational issues by consulting on accreditation and other matters as founding president for the Northeast Consortium for Staff Development, as a longstanding board member for the Richard Milburn Academy Charter Schools in Florida, Texas, and other states, and as a consultant with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).
Bob was a U.S. Army veteran, and served from 1956 to 1959, where he specialized in Army Counter Intelligence, including seeking to identify Eastern Bloc spies hidden among Hungarians seeking refugee status in the New York metropolitan area following the 1956 Soviet military action in that country. He later became a member of the National Counter Intelligence Corps Association.
He was a longtime, active communicant at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, where he also served with the St. Vincent DePaul Society and served as its president. Bob truly enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, and also enjoyed traveling, golfing, talking politics, being involved in numerous Nahant organizations, and especially playing piano in locally-based Dixieland jazz bands.
In addition to his wife Janet, Bob is survived by his devoted children, Christopher P. Munnelly and his wife, Laurie, of Peabody, Atty. Robert J. Munnelly Jr. and his wife, Joan, of Wellesley, Atty. Daniel P. Munnelly and his wife, Colleen, of Nahant, M.I.T. Police Officer Sean C. Munnelly and his wife, Nanci, of Litchfield, N.H., Kevin D. Munnelly and his wife, Marie, of Swampscott, and Donna Rosso and her husband, George, of Eliott, Maine. He was the brother of Laurie Johnson of Clinton, Conn., June Falcone and her husband, Vincent, of Naples, Kevin V. Munnelly and his wife, Miriam, of San Diego, Calif., Rita Dennin and her husband, Atty. Lawrence of Holliston, Mass., and Eileen Skruck and her husband, Patrick, of Wilmington, N.C. He was the proud grandfather to his 22 grandchildren and stepgrandchildren, and his three great-grandchildren. Bob also is survived by many nieces and nephews.
ARRANGEMENTS: Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Bob’s Memorial Funeral Mass in St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Nahant, on Thursday, August 1, at 10 a.m. Visiting hours will be in the Cuffe-McGinn Funeral Home, 157 Maple St., Lynn, on Wednesday, July 31, from 4 to 8 p.m. Interment will be in Greenlawn Cemetery, Nahant. Gifts in his memory may be made to St. Vincent DePaul Society at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 248 Nahant Road, Nahant, MA 01908. To sign the guest book, please visit www.cuffemcginn.com.