Edward Arnold Munyer, age 86, of Chatham, IL passed away on January 27, 2023.
He was born on May 8, 1936, to George and Martha (Carlson) Munyer in Chicago, Illinois. Edward was a lifelong learner and educator. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and biological sciences from Illinois State University (ISU). After graduating, he taught high school biology in Chicago, Elgin, and Minonk before becoming an instructor in Biology, Zoology, and Botany at ISU. He continued to teach throughout his career including as an Associate Professor of Science at Vincennes University Community College (VU) and the University of Florida. He touched the lives of countless students during his lifetime.
Edward went on to work for over 30 years as a museum professional and was an actively involved member of the American Association of Museums and the Midwest and Southeast Museum Conferences. Highlights of his early career include serving as Associate Curator of Zoology at the Illinois State Museum, as the Director of the VU Museum, in Indiana, and as the Coordinator of Education at the Florida State Museum, in Gainesville.
During these years, Edward was actively engaged in developing exhibits and educational programming, managing professional museum educators, as well as continuing to teach graduate courses in museology. One of his better-known accomplishments while at the Florida State Museum was the planning, development, and administration of its Object Gallery which opened to the public in 1974. Many museums have used this innovative Gallery, one of the handfuls of “original” museum special learning discovery centers, as a model.
From 1981 until his retirement in 1999, he served as the Assistant Museum Director of the Illinois State Museum, in Springfield. During this time, he continued to be a lifelong learner with his research interests ranging from ecology, ethology, and anatomy of terrestrial vertebrates to human learning in museums. He authored or co-authored over 30 articles, many of which are still in use today. He enjoyed crossing paths with former students, particularly those in the nursing field, and took great pleasure in these encounters.
While retired, Edward continued to pursue his love of wood carving, birding, astronomy, traveling, Egyptology, and paleontology, among other interests. He loved participating in model train and antique shows with his wife Marianna and taking his children and grandchildren to visit museums, botanical gardens, zoos, and national parks.
He was a member of the Historic Grace Lutheran Church in Springfield, Illinois.
Edward was predeceased by both his parents, as well as his brother, George, granddaughter, Jenna, and his many beloved pets. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Marianna J. Munyer, by his former wife, Janet T. Munyer, sons, Robert Munyer, and Richard (Felicia) Munyer, daughter, Cheryl Munyer Waldrep, stepson, William (Susan) James, and stepdaughter, Laura (Kevin) Brace, and his four grandchildren, Clara, Sophia, Jarett, and Alexandra.
A private service will be followed by a burial in Rochester Cemetery in Rochester, Illinois near the park he loved. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Animal Protective League (APL) in Springfield, Illinois, or the Dale and Deborah Smith Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
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