John Munson

Passed: April 22, 2022


John Karl Munson was born January 26, 1942, the first of four children to Herb and Dorothy Munson. He grew up on the family farm in the Pleasant Valley community with many good friends and great memories. He attended Custer schools and graduated from Ferndale High School in 1960.  He attended Western Washington University, where he met his future wife, Kathrine.


As a young man, he worked as practical nurse at Northern State Hospital, as a laborer in Bellingham, and for Burlington Northern Railroad.  He began working as a casual longshoreman in Bellingham in the 1960’s, and eventually got into the union in Everett in 1987.  After more than 35 years as a longshoreman, he retired from the Seattle Local 19, in 2007.


During his longshore career, he worked tirelessly for workers’ rights and benefits, and for the pensioners’ organization.  John was politically active for his whole life, working with Jobs With Justice, on many local campaigns, and furthering the cause of Medicare For All.  He was particularly proud of his work to raise the minimum wage in Washington State, and his service on the board of the Ferndale Food Bank.


John died on April 22, 2022.  He is survived by Kathrine, his wife of 58 years, his children Andrea(Peter), Johanna, Karl(Mary), his grandsons Leo and Hans, and his granddaughters Naomi and Ruby.  He is also survived by his siblings Skip Munson, Diane(Dan)Joy, and Marsha(Sterling)Donalson, and, in addition, many beloved nieces and nephews, honorary grandchildren, and their children.


A private graveside service was held at Greenacres Memorial Park in Ferndale on May 3, 2022.   A celebration of his life will be held at 2 PM on Saturday, August 13, 2022 at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, 1207 Ellsworth Street, Bellingham, WA 98225.  Family and friends are invited to bring and share a favorite memory of John.


John will be greatly missed by all of us.  We are thankful for his life, loving and well-lived, curious and interested until the end.

Celebration of Life

  • Date & Time: August 13, 2022 (2:00 PM)
  • Venue: Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
  • Location: 1207 Ellsworth St Bellingham, WA 98225 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (360) 733-3837

Ferndale Food Bank

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2 responses to John Munson

  1. Jim Harrison says:

    Probably the most important influence on my early life, beyond my parents. John will always be a part of who I am. What a loss for all of us! Many were better than me at reaching out to him in recent years. Regrets, regrets. Susan and I will never be able to fill the hole left by his departure. Family and friends, we can’t say we know how it is for you, but it can’t be easy. We love you.

  2. My enduring memories of John will be the long, engaging conversations I would have with him at our Christmas gatherings. We would cover a wide range of topics from politics to music, to world affairs. Even late in life he maintained a keen intellectual curiosity, broad set of interests and passion for ideas. I will cherish those talks and greatly miss them.

    My deepest condolences.

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