Paul C. Mundinger
Paul C. Mundinger died at his home in Rye November 10. He was 77.
Dr. Mundinger was Professor of Biology, Emeritus, at Queens College, City University of New York, where he had taught and conducted research for over 35 years, focusing on the genetic basis of bird song.
He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. in Ethology from Cornell University. He conducted the first of his avian field studies at Cornell’s then new Laboratory of Ornithology. He received a post-doctoral fellowship to study at Rockefeller University in New York City in 1967, bringing him and his family to Rye, where they have lived for nearly 45 years.
An inspirational teacher, Dr. Mundinger led many students into their own careers in science. He was an innovative researcher, combining observational fieldwork with controlled laboratory breeding studies. His son, Thomas, said, “His novel approaches to demonstrating the genetic basis of learning led to a wider acceptance of gene-based behavior throughout the scientific community.”
When Dr. Mundinger retired from Queens College earlier this year, he had the largest live bird research laboratory in the country.
Dr. Mundinger was a member of American Yacht Club and the Amateur Ski Club of New York.
His son Paul said about his father, “He expected a lot from all of his family members, but never judged them.” His daughter Ann added, “Dad had a huge influence on all of his grandchildren, guiding them and delighting them with stories from his childhood.” His daughter Elizabeth said, “We will all miss his joyful laughter and the twinkle in his eye.”
In addition to his wife of 53 years, Mary, Dr. Mundinger is survived by his four children: Paul (Rye), Ann (New Canaan), Thomas (Seattle, Washington), and Elizabeth (Bethesda, Maryland); seven grandchildren; and a sister, Cheryl Heitmann.
Memorial donations be directed to the Queens College Department of Biology.
William A. Read Jr.
William Augustus Read Jr. of Palm Beach, Fla., and Cody, Wyo., passed away peacefully at his Palm Beach home October 28.
Born on Beacon Street in Boston, May 16, 1918, to Admiral William A. Read and Edith Fabyan Read, he was the eldest of nine children. He grew up in Purchase, and was educated in New England, attending St. Paul’s School and the Hun School.
He married Kathleen Cushman Spence and they had one daughter, Edith. A divorce occurred subsequent to his missing-in-action status during World War II.
After Pearl Harbor, Mr. Read joined the Navy, graduating from the Navy Aerial Gunnery Instructors School in Pensacola. He was Range Officer at the Navy Border Field Machine Gun Range in San Diego, and became the Gunnery Officer for the Navy Patrol Squadron 101 in the South West Pacific Theatre on the Navy version of the B24 Liberator.
On his 25th combat mission, he was shot down. He and some of the surviving crew were able to swim to an island in the Sulu Sea, near Palawan Island within Japanese territory, where they lived on coconuts. He was wounded again in a second crash in which a Japanese plane was shot down and landed on some of their crew, killing two of them and further wounding the others.
For two months, Mr. Read was missing-in-action. He and the other surviving crewmembers were rescued by the Submarine Gunnel. His decorations include two Air Medals, two Purple Hearts, and the Navy Cross. Lt. Commander William Read flew 25 combat missions without flight pay.
Mr. Read’s skill in shooting led to his qualification for the Navy Expert Pistol and Rifle. He won the gold medal in the Olympics in the International Skeet Veterans Class. He is in the Trap Shooting Hall of Fame, won and successfully defended the Pennsylvania 50 Bird Challenge Cup, and achieved his 100,000-target American Trap Shooting Association Pin.
After the war, he became a partner of Phelps, Fenn and Company, a municipal bonds firm in New York City. In 1959, he married Isabel Uppercu Collier and they moved to Florida. They had been married just short of 50 years at her death in 2008.
After his retirement, he became a licensed alligator trapper in southwest Florida, near the family ranch in Immokalee, priding himself on filling his quota of 160 alligators annually with 160 shots.
In addition to his daughter, Edith Read Wey, Mr. Read is survived by two grandsons, and three great-grandsons. He also leaves behind a sister, Jean Read Knox, and two brothers, Peter and Donald. He was predeceased by five brothers: Curtis, David, Alexander, Roderick, and Frederick.
Donations in his name may be made to the Naval Institute Foundation, 291 Wood Road, Annapolis, MD 21402-9987.
Janet C. Duckworth
Janet C. Duckworth passed away October 13, at The Osborn, where she lived and enjoyed the companionship of many of her friends the last ten years of her life.
Born in Brooklyn (she was fond of saying, “The best people are born in Brooklyn”) January 7, 1918, she moved at an early age to Bronxville, where she was a resident for over 60 years. “Cookie”, as she was better and more fondly known by her many friends, was an active member of the community with her husband Roy, who predeceased her by 15 years. During their time together they were active on the club golf circuit with Cookie winning many awards, particularly at her favorite spots, Apawamis Club and Westhampton Country Club.
Mrs. Duckworth is survived by her children, Sheila Duckworth Stern of Los Angeles, and R. Demarest Duckworth III of Rye; four grandchildren, Heather D. Smith of Boston, Gret D. Batchelar of London, Roy D. Duckworth of New Rochelle, and Drew C. Duckworth of Durango, Colorado; together with three great-grandchildren.
A private interment was held at Rye Presbyterian Church, and a memorial celebration was held at The Osborn October 21.
Rita J. Morris
Rita J. Morris, 96 of New York and Bethesda, MD., passed away peacefully November 12 at The Osborn, where she lived since 2004.
Ms. Morris was the daughter of Edward F. and Anne (Harvey) Morris of Larchmont, and the sister of the late Janet Morris.
Ms. Morris graduated from Saint Joseph’s College, Brooklyn, in 1936, and went on to carve out a distinguished career in the life insurance industry at a time when few women were able to do so. She retired from Equitable Life, where she served as an investment officer, in 1978.
Ms. Morris was a proud Progressive and a champion of women’s rights. Later in life, she was a fierce advocate for and caregiver to her parents and sister.
“A remarkable woman who approached life with an equal measure of passion and compassion,” said her cousin Tom Saunders. “We miss her terribly.”
Ms. Morris is survived by two first cousins, Thomas M. Saunders of Rye, and Ellen S. Sorapure of Morristown, N.J., and numerous distant cousins.
A memorial Mass will be held at Church of the Resurrection Saturday, November 19 at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be private.
Donations in her memory may be made to Holy Rosary Soup Kitchen in Port Chester.