The Rev. Canon JoAnn Munro, Became Episcopal Priest After Being Active in St. Paul’s Church in Darien

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The Rev. Canon JoAnn Reynolds Munro, of Hancock, N.H., a former member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien, died surrounded by family and friends on May 8 at Monadnock Community Hospital.

ObitMs. Munro was born in Walla Walla, Wash. on Oct. 20,1934 the daughter of Harry J. Reynolds Jr. and Sarah (Delaney) Reynolds Fisher.

JoAnn’s great grandmother as a young girl traveled on the second wagon train to follow the Oregon Trail in 1842. She settled in the Whitman community, where she married and proved up the family Donation claim, which latter became Log Cabin Farm, a prosperous dairy, vegetable and fruit operation in Walla Walla.

Much of JoAnn’s early years were spent on the family ranch. The grit, spirit and resolution of her pioneer ancestry was a part of JoAnn’s approach to the gift of life.

She graduated from the University of Idaho where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and was selected to serve an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in her field of nutrition. She worked in that field, later receiving a graduate degree from New York University.

After she married to Norman Munro of New Haven, the couple settled in Wilton where they raised their children. In time, JoAnn became an avid seeker in the Christian faith. As a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien she became very active in various church programs.

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an obituary from Jellison Funeral Home

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Feeling moved to seek ordination in that denomination JoAnn attended Yale Divinity School, graduating with honors in 1985. From that year through to 1993, JoAnn served St. Paul’s Church in Fairfield as seminar intern, assistant rector and later interim rector.

In those capacities she exhibited outstanding skills in directing and enhancing church programs and with creativity handled challenges and made the most of opportunities. Her congregation there fondly recalls her spirit, hard work and her joy in her ministry.

In 1993, JoAnn was selected rector of St. Michael’s Church in Naugatuck and served there until 1999. Again, she met the many challenges of that parish. Working with her wardens, vestry and the congregants led to improvements in the church’s programming, and there was a substantially growth of membership.

Among the many initiatives of her ministry was the establishment of the Naugatuck Teen Theater (now in its 22nd year) housed in the church parish hall.

JoAnn secured the funding and pulled together stage professionals to cast their first show “Fiddler on the Roof.” Later she made her stage debut cast as Miss Jones in “How to Succeed in Business.”

It was JoAnn’s firm belief that “God is good all the time — all the time God is good” that is recalled to this day by St. Michael’s members that she served faithfully. JoAnn, always the student, was dedicated to the study of and writing about various Christian mystics and theologians. She was always ready and willing to explore with others their path to a greater understanding of our faith.

She was than called by Bishop Drew Smith to join the staff of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, serving as the canon for deployment from 1999 to her retirement in 2006. In that capacity she wrote her first book, “A Manuel for Church in Transition,” about the process of searching and calling a new rector. Her material is still used to this day.

Moving with her husband to Peterborough, N.H. they became active members of All Saints’ Church. JoAnn continued her ministry of service to the church responding to various requests of the rector to assist in a variety of projects.

JoAnn R. Munro is survived by her loving husband of 20 years David L. Simpson, Jr. of Hancock; her daughter Sara Munro of Santa Barbara Ca.; her son Dr. Scott Munro and his wife Jackie and her grandchildren Killian Munro and Sam Munro of Wilton, N.Y.; her sister Judy Planting of Tucson Ariz., David L. Simpson III of James Island S.C. and her faithful dog, Cade.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorial contributions be made in Rev. Munro’s name to All Saints’ Church, 51 Concord St., Peterborough, NH 03458 or online.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, June 11 at All Saints’ Church.

Jellison Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. To view an online obituary, or leave the family condolence, please visit the funeral home website.

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