Ronald Alfred Munson

August 12, 1933March 5, 2019

Ronald Alfred Munson was born August 12, 1933, in Lancaster, PA, son of Millicent Richardson Munson and Saron Erik Munson. Ronald grew up in Lancaster, graduating from Manheim Township High School before attending Franklin and Marshall College, also in Lancaster, where his father was chair of the Education Department and director of the Guidance Center. Ronald graduated with a degree in physical chemistry in 1955. In 1958 he received his PhD from Northwestern University, Chicago, IL where he studied inorganic reaction mechanisms. He went on to complete post-doctoral research at the Max-Planck - Institut fuer Physikalishe Chemie, Goettingen, Germany, 1958-60. There he was privileged to know and work with Nobelist Manfred Eigen.

From 1960 until his marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Robinson in 1967, Ronald was a research chemist at General Electric Research Laboratory, Schenectady, NY. In July of that year, the couple moved to Maryland where Ronald was a research supervisor for the US Bureau of Mines, Department of the Interior, College Park, MD, a post he maintained until 1972. From 1972-82, he was a staff assistant at the US Bureau of Mines headquarters, Washington, DC, and from 1982 until retirement in 1996, he was Chief, Office of Mineral Institutes, US Bureau of Mines, Washington, DC.

During his professional career, Ronald contributed articles to a number of journals. Among his achievements was the discovery of transition metal disulfides having the pyrite structure using ultra-high pressure synthesis technique. Zeolites were another focus of his research.

Among his awards were pre- and post-doctoral fellowships from the National Science Foundation and a meritorious service award from the Department of the Interior. He was a member and local chapter chair of the American Institute of Mining Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME); American Chemical Society and Phi Beta Kappa. He and his family moved to Arlington, VA from Maryland in 1974, where he became active in the Arlington County PTA, serving as President, 1980-81.

In retirement, he was a serious auditor of courses at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, including genetics and bio-chemistry. He was an avid skier and tennis player. He and his wife enjoyed opera and travel, including trips to Europe, India and South America. There were cycling trips in Canada, Austria and the Netherlands. His enthusiasm for vegetable gardening supplied the family table over many years.

In addition to his wife of 51 years, his family includes daughter and son-in-law Katherine Grace Munson and Ronald Cascio of Berlin, MD; daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth Llyn and Scott Kevin Pickens of Scottsdale, AZ; daughter Hilma Joy Munson of Baltimore, MD; daughter and son-in-law Erika Ann and Kevin C. Sliger of Huntersville, NC, and three grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Virginia Opera,


Ronald Alfred Munson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jennifer Helzer

March 6, 2019

Dear Munson Family!
I am sooo sorry to learn of your loss!!
My heart goes out to you all!
My condolences,
Jenny. (Hilma’s friend)