John Durburrow Munford II, 90, cofounder of the Virginia Institute for Political Leadership

John Durburrow Munford II
John Durburrow Munford II

John Durburrow Munford II, 90, of Virginia Beach, died Saturday, July 28, 2018. He was preceded in death by his lovely wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Broun Munford of Martinsville, who he wed in 1957. John was born in Richmond in 1928 and is survived by his sons, John D. Munford III (Beth) and Charles C. Munford (Torrey); daughter, Page M. Kolligian (Kris); and grandchildren, Sarah, Will, Blair, Jack and Broun Munford and Will and Mack Kolligian.

He attended St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, the Hill School in Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia, where he majored in English and was the president of the Student Council. He treasured his connection with UVA and his many friends there and served on boards of the Virginia Student Aid Foundation, the Darden School of Business and the Alumni Association.

Apart from three years of service in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps during the Korean War, he spent his entire 42 year working career at Union Camp Corporation in Franklin, starting as a salesman and retiring as the vice chairman of the board in 1994. He believed that the mills in Franklin and Eastover, South Carolina, had the best leadership and the best production teams of any mills in the country and that it was a privilege to lead them. His team appreciated him for his work ethic, his decency and his sense of humor. As an outgrowth of his leadership role at Union Camp, he chaired the Virginia Manufacturer’s Association, was a charter member of the Virginia Business Council, and was a director of the Center for Innovative Technology and a trustee of the Camp Foundation.

He believed that he had the duty to serve others, and especially his community of Franklin. He served as president of Cypress Cove Country Club and the Franklin Rotary Club. He chaired the regional United Way, was a director of Southampton Memorial Hospital and a senior warden of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

In a quest to insure that the state of Virginia has the best and brightest political leadership, along with the Hon. Mills Godwin and Larry Sabato, he helped found and became the original chairman of the Virginia Institute for Political Leadership. He was a trustee of the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges.

In addition to Union Camp, he served as director on the boards of Cadmus Communications, Universal Corporation, Pulaski Furniture, Caraustar Industries, NationsBank of Virginia and Mohawk Paper.
He was a pilot. He owned his plane while still in his twenties. He was a lifelong sailor and waterman, an avid tennis player, and skier with classic form, all passions that he passed down to his children and grandchildren. He was a musician and photographer. He loved animals. As with all his passions and his life overall, he most enjoyed sharing with others. He told stories and enjoyed friendly banter with anyone up to the challenge (You know who you are…we hope you are smiling with him). He wanted to make a positive impact on others, and he did. He was generous. We are thankful for his love, for his courage to lead, for being a model to emulate as a father and grandfather and for making us the most important priority in life. We will miss him but know that his imprint will be with us forever.
Thanks so much to Sheila, Sabrina and Deborah for staying the course.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 4, at Galilee Episcopal Church, Virginia Beach.

Please make contributions to a charity of choice. Animals’ well being and environmental support of the Bay were important to him, especially the Virginia Beach SPCA and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

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