Sweet Auburn: The Magazine of The Friends 2021 Vol. 1 | Page 19

sweet auburn | 2021 volume i

Remembrance of DUNCAN W . MUNRO

By William Clendanial President Emeritus
Duncan Munro , Mount Auburn Superintendent from 1966 to 1989 . In his 23 years at Mount Auburn , he served four Presidents from Francis Richardson to Bill Clendaniel . He died on December 26 , 2020 , from Covid-19 , aged 94 . hen I became Mount Auburn ’ s President in early 1988 , I knew nothing about how cemeteries

W were run . But for the next year , until he retired , I had an excellent mentor in the long-time Superintendent , Duncan Munro . He willingly shared his expertise stemming from his many years at Mount Auburn , where he was the senior manager , and his many of years of leadership with the Massachusetts , New England , and American Cemetery Associations . He was greatly respected throughout the cemetery community , and over the year we worked together he made sure I met all the right people — fellow cemeterians throughout New England , local funeral directors , and key contractors of all sorts . Twenty years of age separated us , and he must have wondered at times how this young man ( I was 43 at the time ) with no cemetery background , could possibly manage to replace him . Yet he was always patient , and his tutorials continued most days over lunch at one nearby Friendly ’ s restaurant or another . We would be joined by Newell Penniman , the long-time treasurer who also retired a year after I came . I owe much to both men .

One aspect of Mount Auburn that I remember Duncan particularly enjoyed was working with the long-time Greenhouse Manager Maurene Simonelli to plan the annual flowers for Asa Gray Garden and other areas . Although we came from very different backgrounds , he respected the fact that I had been hired to bring change to his beloved Mount Auburn . By the time Duncan retired in 1989 , thanks to his years of devoted professional efforts , the Cemetery was financially strong with a dedicated staff and a well-maintained landscape . He left me with the knowledge I needed and strong foundations on which to build a new future for this venerable and iconic institution .