Donald Munson
Plant a Tree
Plant a Tree

Final Resting Place

Sacred Heart Cemetery
741 E Walnut Rd
Vineland, New Jersey, United States

Obituary of Donald O Munson

Donald Munson, of Norma, NJ, 90, passed peacefully at home on December 16, 2020, surrounded by loved ones. Born on the family farm in Champlain, NY, to the late Elmer and Eva (Matott) Munson and was one of eight children. Donald is survived by his wife, Marlene; six children, Margaret, Joseph, Michael, Judith, Felicia, Donna, one "adopted" son, Frank; one sister, Betty; two brothers, George and Gene; 22 grandchildren (1 deceased); 14 great grandchildren (1 deceased); and countless nieces and nephews. Along with his parents, Donald was predeceased by two sons, Donald Jr. and Paul; two sisters, Luella and Helen; and two brothers, Carl and John. Donald attended Chazy Central School (NY), but left school shortly after the death of his father, to help his mother and siblings on the farm. He enlisted in the US Marine Corp in 1948, attended basic training at Paris Island, spent time at Camp Lejeune before serving on the USS Midway during the Korean Conflict. He also served on other ships in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and off shore in Italy, France, Turkey, Gibraltar, Trinidad, and Newfoundland. He was a machine gun unit leader, received the Good Conduct Medal and was issued an honorable discharge in 1952 as a Staff Sergeant. He received his High School GED while enlisted. Donald returned to the states to begin civilian life in NYC. $3 a day gave him a room at the Manhattan YMCA with a bed, towel, bar of soap and a toothbrush. He worked for the NY Daily News, International Harvester, and was a producer of the Discovery 65 TV show for kids. Donald found a piece of run down land in Norma NJ and moved in 1965. One nail at a time, and with the help from many, he built a home and set up the land that is lovingly called "The Farm". He became a gas station owner and mechanic, but his passion was always animals. Especially those that were mistreated or abandoned. Donald set up a home business on the farm, and became the founder of the Animal Care of South Jersey, which was a rescue and adoption center. With his wife by his side, Donald built a large "animal care" community with animal control officers and passionate "cat ladies" across the state to ensure every stray or forgotten animal found a good home. He is the original "dog whisperer" and could tame Cujo. Donald later became employed by the State of NJ as part of the NJ Rabies Control Program, before retiring from state service in 1991 and from the rescue in 1996. Donald and his wife Marlene were very active in the Catholic community. Both served many years together on the Parish Counsel and Fund Raising Committee for St. Francis of Assisi Church (Vineland). In the year 2000, he and his wife rejoined the Parish at St. Mary's Church in Rosenhayn, where his special gift was making the best coffee for the Lenten dinners and telling his stories. Donald was a very giving man. His altruism shone through in many ways. In addition to volunteer work for the church, he also participated in annual Christmas toy distributions to children, and fixed countless cars for family, friends and sometimes strangers. In 1985, he was nominated by the late Phil Lipman Esq. and received The Chapel of Four Chaplains Award in Philadelphia, which recognizes and honors outstanding members of society whose lives model the giving spirit and unconditional service to community, nation, and humanity without regard to race, religion, or creed. He was a member of the Semper Marine Detachment in Vineland. Before his illness, Donald would pour and fix his wife's first cup of coffee and kiss her three times to start every morning. He would hold her hand wherever they went in public and wrote sweet love notes in store bought cards on their special occasions. Donald's cursive handwriting was uniquely classic. Family was the most important thing to him. He had countless friends, some like family, but too many to mention. One of Donald's last words were, "if you are happy, then I am happy". Donald lived a full life bringing happiness to four legged creatures and everyone he met. A private funeral service was held on Wednesday, December 23rd with a mass at St, Mary's Church in Rosenhayn, followed by entombment at Sacred Heart Cemetery with a military tribute provided by The Last Salute. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to: BLOOM365, (An organization founded by Donald's daughter Donna, which educates teens on preventing violence, and building healthy relationships.) Mail: 20403 N. Lake Pleasant Rd, Suite 117-492, Peoria, AZ 85382; Online:; Text: bloom365 To: 44-321 or to Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund, 1385 Chews Landing Road, Clementon, NJ 08021 Special thanks to the Heartland Hospice team who helped us fall together, instead of fall apart, and guided the family with Donald's care. ARRANGEMENTS are under the supervision of Rone Funeral Service, 1110 East Chestnut Avenue, Vineland, NJ 08360 To send online condolences please visit our website at
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