Family, coworkers, and current and former Englewood city officials came together in memoriam of a well-known figure in the Englewood community who loved that city as much as it loved him back.
“It's just an honor to be part of honoring someone who served our community and country,” said Joe Jefferson, a former Englewood mayor and current municipal judge, after a Sept. 18 memorial service for Tom Munds, who covered Englewood as a news reporter for decades.
Munds, a Denver resident, died Feb. 6 after a battle with cancer. He was 82.
The memorial service at Fort Logan National Cemetery in southwest Denver — complete with ceremonial rifle-firing and the traditional folding of an American flag — was a fitting tribute to Munds, whose first career was in the U.S. Air Force. A technical sergeant, Munds spent 21 years in the Air Force, including service in the Vietnam War.
The memorial service for Munds was “a tribute to the sacrifice he made for not only his country but his family,” said his son, Thomas Munds, 57. During the times of military assignments, Tom Munds “did the traveling so it wouldn't be hard on the family,” said Thomas Munds, who would stay home with his family in Denver while his dad was away.
When Thomas Munds looks back, his dad's work ethic and discipline are among the qualities that stand out the most.
“He probably learned that from the military — he raised us the same way. It was 'yes sir, no sir,' 'yes ma'am, no ma'am' until we were 16 years old,” Thomas Munds said. “He was very straightforward; he told you what to do, when to do. And that's not a bad thing.”
Munds wasn't all business. A sports lover, he was a big Green Bay Packers fan until the day he died, his son said. And Munds had a soft side, too.
“That was mainly generated toward the family,” Thomas Munds said. “Mom, he protected her like a husband should.”
Born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, Munds ended up going to military tech school in Mississippi, eventually listening to Russian radio transmissions in Morse code and copying them in Alaska.
He later landed as a public information officer at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, writing for the base's newspaper and freelancing for the Sentinel newspaper chain.
Munds retired from military service in late 1976 and went on to complete his journalism degree at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
In 1977, the Sentinel chain hired him to report on and take photos of high school sports at nine schools, including Englewood High. The beat was eventually pared down to schools in Englewood and neighboring Littleton.
In 1986, he was assigned to cover the entire community of Englewood, which he did for the next 30-plus years.
He spent most of that time working for the Englewood Herald. His articles appeared on the pages of the Herald and sister papers as recently as spring 2019.
“I was just amazed at how many people knew Tom and interacted with him. He went to almost every event in Englewood,” said Jefferson, the former mayor. Munds' dependable photography and quote-gathering “always made those events seem like a big deal.”
Englewood City Councilmember Rita Russell and former Councilmember Laurett Barrentine attended Munds' memorial, as did Jefferson.
“He really did live a life of service,” Jefferson said. “It was just really an honor to be there.”
Munds loved reminiscing about his favorite Englewood restaurants, the big high school sports games and the tougher stories — but perhaps above all, the familiar faces.
In an interview not long before he died, Munds expressed his gratitude for being a member of the community.
“Tell the people of Englewood,” Munds said, “that I love them.”
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