Obituary of Alice Munkelt
Alice Munkelt passed away peacefully on June 25, 2019, at Springhill Manor in Grass Valley.
She was an amazing woman in her 100th year who set an example for everyone in living well and aging courageously.
Alice was born in Washington in 1919 as Alice Lang, and spent her early years with two older sisters near Redondo WA. Her first home was rural, with room to explore nature. After a fire the family lived on a boat. After another fire and with the depression gripping the world the family relocated to San Diego when she was eleven. Her mother was a concert violinist and her father a salesman.
She completed elementary and high school in San Diego, and met Glen Munkelt, Jr. there. When Alice was 14 twin brothers joined the family, Charles and Edward Lang, Jr.
Without support from her family Alice enrolled at Cal (U.C. Berkeley). During her year in Northern California she worked at a summer camp at Lake Vera in Nevada County, and could tell of her trips into town in the 1930’s. During the Second World War, she worked at Hughes Aircraft in SoCal, and blames the loud engines for her later hearing loss. After the war her adventurous spirit also took her clear across the country to New York City to live and work as a single woman on her own at a time when that was exceptional. Glen Munkelt drove cross-country to see her, and Alice married him and settled into life in San Diego. She got a job as secretary to the principal at Point Loma High, and only resigned for the birth of her first child, Stephen, in 1950. Her second son Dana was born in 1953.
Following divorce in 1962 she returned to her position at Point Loma High, and guided several principals, hundreds of teachers and thousands of students through the challenges of secondary education – and life. It was at work that she developed a talent for what she called doggerel. Short rhyming poems describing people and events that connected those around her. For example, when she left San Diego for Grass Valley in 1995 there was a farewell poem for all her friends:
In just a few days I’ll be leaving this place.
It’s where I grew up and started the race
Through Life’s Many changes I knew I belonged
Right here in this city where friends have all thronged
The time has now come when I’d just like to mention
How much I have needed your kindly attention
I’ll miss you a lot, the blue ocean too,
Not to mention the wondrous San Diego zoo.
But the Grass Valley area has beauties in store
In the trees, the mountains, and flowers galore.
Plus I’m nostalgic about all sorts of weather
And up in Grass Valley I’ll get all sorts together.
So adieu, adios, ciao, and bye bye,
I’ll be leaving you soon with a tear in my eye.
During her 25 years in Grass Valley she was active in community and political organizations, won medals for racewalking in the Senior Olympics, competed in a bowling league into her 90s, enjoyed bi-weekly bridge games, and won ribbons for canning at the County Fair.
She was a participant, not a bystander, and always ready to face her fear and try something new, including a role in community theater when she was 80 and a skydive for her 94th birthday.
Alice gained many friends and admirers on her long journey through life. She spent her last three years at the Brett Harte hotel downtown, where she got up to dance at the Friday Nip and Nibble, and was a regular for Bingo.
Alice is survived by her brothers Charles and Edward Lang, sons Stephen and Dana Munkelt, daughter-in-law Dawn, grandchildren Jacquelyn Smith, Jennifer Rashkis and Breeana Munkelt, great-grandchildren Samantha,
Brandon and Megan Smith, and a cherished choir of nephews, nieces, cousins and more.
There will be a Celebration of Life in Alice’s honor at the time of her 100th birthday in September. Details will be announced at a later time.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Foothills.
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