Article Courtesy of Mike Ullery from Miami Valley Today
If one compares life to art, everyone begins with a blank canvas. Life is then a pallet, full of colors, waiting to see what becomes of our own, individual, masterpiece. For Springfield Masonic Community resident, Don Muncy, the layers are many. The colors, brilliant.
Muncy, 95, began his journey in Springfield, where he and Virginia, his then-wife-to-be, graduated from Springfield High School as members of the Class of 1940. Like most members of what has become known as “The Greatest Generation,” Muncy chose to serve his country as a member of the United States Navy.
He rose to the rank of Chief Aviation Machinist Mate, flying anti-submarine patrols over the Atlantic Ocean in a PBY patrol aircraft. One of Muncy’s commanding officers set the young Chief’s feet on his career path, although Muncy did not realize it at the time, when he offered Muncy the choice of going to the Pacific to continue flying anti-submarine patrols, or staying stateside and becoming an air traffic controller.
Chief Muncy finished out the war as an ATC then continued in that capacity in civilian life. The young Muncy was married to Virginia by this time and one of his first stations was at the Dayton International Airport where he served for two years in the late 1940s. As Muncy rose through the ranks in the ATC area, his duties took him around the country and around the world. He eventually retired from the Federal Aviation Administration after 38 years of service.
Following his retirement, Muncy and his family chose Grass Valley, California as home. It was there that Muncy discovered his passion for painting. As luck, or fate, would have it, a Grass Valley neighbor and friend was a retired Walt Disney illustrator Hal Clouse. “He kind of took a shining to me,” said Muncy, “and he studied with me privately for about a year.”
Upon relocating back to their hometown of Springfield, the Muncy’s retired to Springfield Masonic Community. As he continued working on his own pieces, Muncy also began sharing his passion with other residents, starting classes in a variety of mediums.
When asked where his talent comes from, Muncy responded, “It’s God-given and I’ve been blessed with a long life and a good time.”
The Muncy’s had two children, a son and a daughter. Their son passed away a few years ago and Muncy lost Virginia earlier this year following 78 years of marriage. They also have two grandsons and one great-grandson.
With the passing of his wife, Muncy devotes his time to painting, his studio at Springfield Masonic Community and the hallways leading to it, filled with a variety of paintings, some oil, some acrylic.
As with the variety in Muncy’s life, his paintings reflect a wide variety of interests, from landscapes to portraits, and everything in between.
On a recent excursion to the Dayton Airport, Muncy accompanied Scott Buchanan, CEO of The Ohio Masonic Home, and Director of the Vectren Dayton Air Show, to a pre-season visit by the United States Navy Blue Angels. While the press conference centered on the announcement of the Blue Angels flying at the 2020 Vectren Dayton Air Show, the real star of the day was Muncy.
The Blue Angels’ representative pilots were thrilled to meet the World War II veteran and asked to pose for photos with him and learn about life in the Navy during the war.
As the press conference was ending, LCDR Adam Herrick and LT Julius Bratton made sure that Muncy intended to come watch them fly over the Vectren Dayton Air Show next summer. Muncy assured them that he would be on hand.
In the meantime, he intends to stay busy painting and sharing his passion for art, and life, with everyone that he meets.