Memorial service for Citizen reporter John Munford Saturday at 1 p.m. in F’ville

John Munford in a file photo.

UPDATED 5:29 p.m. Friday, July 25 — A memorial service is planned for today (Saturday, July 26) at 1 p.m. for John Waller Munford, Jr., 41, a third generation newspaper man and a reporter for The Citizen for 14 years, who passed away in the early morning hours of Monday, July 21, 2014.

Munford was born in Kentucky, where his father and grandfather were owners and publishers of the Union County Advocate in Morganfield. His father died in 1987, and he subsequently moved with his mother and siblings to Peachtree City in 1988.

A graduate of McIntosh HIgh School, Munford continued the family journalism vocation with his studies at Georgia Southern University where he was very active as a staff member of the school’s George-Anne newspaper. Following graduation, he worked for The True Citizen in Waynesboro, Ga., and worked there five years after graduation, learning much about reporting from editor Jimmy Ezell.

He returned to Fayette County in 2000 and began working for The Citizen.

He was found in his bed Monday after he missed a noon staff meeting at the newspaper office. Knowing that his wife and children were visiting family out of state, two of his coworkers went to his home within minutes of that missed meeting and found an open rear door to the residence.

Munford had written and posted on TheCitizen.com a story about the Peachtree City Planning Commission at 8:42 p.m. Sunday, his last work for this newspaper. Apparently he died within a few hours of that posting.Munford was preceded in death by his father John Waller Munford, Sr.; and maternal & paternal grandparents.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn G. Munford, son Tyler Carter Munford and daughter Kathryn “Katie” Abigail Munford, all of Fayetteville;

Mother Jerri Munford of Peachtree City; sister Sallie Ann (James) Dykeman of Phoenix, Ariz.; brother William “Jed” (Jennifer) Munford of Douglasville, Ga.;

Mother and father-in-law Stephen “Steve” Ralph and Ellen Taylor Cox of Fayetteville; brother-in-law Stephen Robert (Kelli) Cox of Thomasville, Ga.;

And nephews Maddox Dykeman of Phoenix, Ariz., and John and Jacob Munford of Douglasville, Ga., who all referred to him affectionately as “Unca John.”

A memorial service is planned for today (July 26) at 1 p.m., at the Chapel of Mowell Funeral Home, 180 N. Jeff Davis Drive, Fayetteville, Ga. The Reverend Tony Mirabella will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make donations to the Tyler and Katie Munford Higher Education Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank location in the United States.

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UPDATED 10:58 p.m. Wednesday, July 23 — John Waller Munford, Jr., 41, a third generation newspaper man and a reporter for The Citizen for 14 years,  passed away  in the early morning hours of Monday, July 21, 2014. 

Munford was born in Kentucky, where his father and grandfather were owners and publishers of  the Union County Advocate in Morganfield. His  father died in 1987, and he subsequently moved with his mother and siblings to Peachtree City in 1988.
 
A graduate of McIntosh HIgh School, Munford continued the family journalism vocation with his studies at Georgia Southern University where he was very active as a staff member of the school’s George-Anne newspaper. Following graduation, he worked for The True Citizen in Waynesboro, Ga., and worked there five years after graduation, learning much about reporting from editor Jimmy Ezell.
 
He returned to Fayette County in 2000 and began working for The Citizen.
 
He was found in his bed Monday after he missed a noon staff meeting at the newspaper office. Knowing that his wife and children were visiting family out of state, two of his coworkers went to his home within minutes of that missed meeting and found an open rear door to the residence.
 
Munford had written and posted on TheCitizen.com a story about the Peachtree City Planning Commission at 8:42 p.m. Sunday, his last work for this newspaper. Apparently he died within a few hours of that posting.
 
Publisher Cal Beverly said Munford’s death is a sad and heavy blow to his family, colleagues and friends.
 
“Munford leaves a gap that cannot be filled. He was a loving and devoted father to Tyler and Katie. In his life’s calling as a news reporter, he was invariably fair to all, and invariably good-natured,” Beverly said. “His father was a newspaperman, and John died a great newspaperman. His booming laughter permeated our offices. We have a small staff. He was one of The Citizen’s two reporters. He is one of a kind, and irreplaceable. We are honored to have worked with him for the past 14 years.”
 
Munford reported on Peachtree City and Fayette County governments, as well as sharing police and fire stories with reporter Ben Nelms.
 
“The thing about Munford is that he was always there,” Nelms said Monday. “No story was too big or too small, and every story he wrote was invested with forethought and with an eye toward not just the obvious, but to those things that are sometimes not quite visible.
 
“To possess a natural curiosity and to display the willingness to see beyond the obvious is the mark of a real journalist. And as Munford would sometimes say, ‘I’m a newspaper man.’ John was always there to help. And he was my friend,” Nelms said.
 
Roy Chalker, publisher of The True Citizen, expressed the respect and sorrow of Munford’s former colleagues in Waynesboro.

“John was very diversified. He was as comfortable covering a Little League game as he was a city council meeting,” Chalker said. “A very natural writer, he was popular both personally and professionally. The people of this area have fond memories of John’s time and work here. I fully expected him to have a long and rewarding career as a journalist. We were all very sad to hear the news of his death.”

Munford was active in the Brooks Baseball Assocation and Fayette County Little League. His love of baseball was well-known, beginning with his stint as manager of the high school baseball team in Kentucky. He was a dedicated Atlanta Braves fan who was outspoken with his disapproval of the team’s decision to move to a stadium in Cobb County.

Munford was preceded in death by his father John Waller Munford, Sr.; and maternal & paternal grandparents.
 
He is survived by his wife Marilyn G. Munford, son Tyler Carter Munford and daughter Kathryn “Katie” Abigail Munford, all of Fayetteville;
 
Mother Jerri Munford of Peachtree City; sister Sallie Ann (James) Dykeman of Phoenix, Ariz.; brother William “Jed” (Jennifer) Munford of Douglasville, Ga.;
 
Mother and father-in-law Stephen “Steve” Ralph and Ellen Taylor Cox of Fayetteville; brother-in-law Stephen Robert (Kelli) Cox of Thomasville, Ga.;
 
And nephews Maddox Dykeman of Phoenix, Ariz., and John & Jacob Munford of Douglasville, Ga., who all referred to him affectionately as “Unca John.”
 
A memorial service is planned for Saturday, July 26, at the Chapel of Mowell Funeral Home, 180 N. Jeff Davis Drive, Fayetteville, Ga. The Reverend Tony Mirabella will officiate.
 
In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make donations to the Tyler and Katie Munford Higher Education Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank location in the United States.
 

==================================

UPDATED WITH OBITUARY Wednesday, 1:55 p.m. — The man whose byline appeared in this space hundreds of times over 14 years now has a headline containing his name on that same front page.

But his byline will appear on no more new stories.

John Munford, 41, a reporter for The Citizen since May 2000, died Sunday night at his home in Fayetteville, apparently of natural causes.

He was found in his bed Monday after he missed a noon staff meeting at the newspaper office. Two of his coworkers went to his home within minutes of that missed meeting and found an open rear door to the residence.

Munford had written and posted on TheCitizen.com a story about the Peachtree City Planning Commission at 8:42 p.m. Sunday, his last work for this newspaper. Apparently he died within a few hours of that posting.

Publisher Cal Beverly said Munford’s death is a sad and heavy blow to his family, colleagues and friends.

“Munford leaves a gap that cannot be filled. He was a loving and devoted father to Tyler and Katie. In his life’s calling as a news reporter, he was invariably fair to all, and invariably good-natured,” Beverly said. “His father was a newspaperman, and John died a great newspaperman. His booming laughter permeated our offices. We have a small staff. He was one of The Citizen’s two reporters. He is one of a kind, and irreplaceable. We are honored to have worked with him for the past 14 years.”

Munford reported on Peachtree City and Fayette County governments, as well as sharing police and fire stories with reporter Ben Nelms.

“The thing about Munford is that he was always there,” Nelms said Monday. “No story was too big or too small, and every story he wrote was invested with forethought and with an eye toward not just the obvious, but to those things that are sometimes not quite visible.

“To possess a natural curiosity and to display the willingness to see beyond the obvious is the mark of a real journalist. And as Munford would sometimes say, ‘I’m a newspaper man.’ John was always there to help. And he was my friend,” Nelms said.

Below, Citizen reporter John Munford in another of his many roles, as youth soccer coach for his daughter’s team. Photo from his Facebook page.

Here is his obituary from Mowell Funeral Home of Fayetteville:

John Waller Munford, Jr., 41, passed away July 21, 2014. He worked for the Citizen Newspaper as a journalist.

He was preceded in death by his father John Waller Munford, Sr.; and maternal & paternal grandparents.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn G. Munford, son Tyler Carter Munford and daughter Kathryn “Katie” Abigail Munford, all of Fayetteville; mother Jerri Munford of Peachtree City; sister Sallie Ann (James) Dykeman of Phoenix, Ariz.; brother William “Jed” (Jennifer) Munford of Douglasville, Ga.; mother and father-in-law Stephen “Steve” Ralph and Ellen Taylor Cox of Fayetteville; brother-in-law Stephen Robert (Kelli) Cox of Thomasville, Ga.; also nephews Maddox Dykeman of Phoenix, Ariz., and John & Jacob Munford of Douglasville, Ga.

The memorial service will be held Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 1 p.m. at the Chapel of Mowell Funeral Home, 180 N. Jeff Davis Drive, Fayetteville, Ga. The Reverend Tony Mirabella will officiate.

The family will receive friends Thursday, July 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make donations to the Tyler and Katie Munford Higher Education Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank location.

Family friend Chuck Lenahan emailed with announcement of an earlier informal memorial in honor of Munford.

“A few of John's high school friends and I are putting together an impromptu memorial get together Wednesday evening at Partner's in Peachtree City. What I posted on FaceBook (with the family's blessing) follows:

“’John Munford was never one to let things get him down. He had a spirit, a certain jeux de vie, that lent itself to stories that begin, “I’ll never forget the time that Munford ...”’

“’We’d like to celebrate the man who inspired those stories. Heck, we’d like to hear those stories and we’d like all who knew him to come and share your favorite Munford story. We know it’s short notice, but as so many of his friends and family are local, please come help us celebrate John’s memory with us. Maybe even order yourself a pizza and a beer while you’re at it, but even if you choose not to, just stop and share your story with us.

“’From 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday, 7/23/14, we’ll be at Partner’s II Pizza in Peachtree City. Bring your favorite story (and really, it’s okay if it’s embarrassing) and come join us in paying tribute to John, and all the good times he shared with us.

“’Donations for the "The Tyler and Katie Munford Higher Education” fund will gladly be accepted.’”


“The Tyler and Katie Munford Higher Education Donation Account” has been established at Wells Fargo Bank. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo location across the country. If you want to make a donation, let the Wells Fargo teller know you are making a deposit into that particular donation account.


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EARLIER ONLINE VERSION


John Munford, 41, a reporter for The Citizen since May 2000, died Sunday night at his home in Fayetteville, apparently of natural causes.

He was found in his bed Monday after he missed a noon staff meeting at the newspaper office. Two of his coworkers went to his home and got no answer at the door. They then called police, and found an open rear door to the residence.

He wrote and posted on TheCitizen.com a story about the Peachtree City Planning Commission at 8:42 p.m. Sunday, his last work for The Citizen. Apparently he died within a few hours of that posting.

Publisher Cal Beverly said Munford’s death is a sad and heavy blow to his family, colleagues and friends.

“Munford leaves a gap that cannot be filled. He was a loving and devoted father to Tyler and Katie. In his life’s calling as a news reporter, he was invariably fair to all, and invariably good-natured,” Beverly said. “His father was a newspaperman, and John died a great newspaperman. His booming laughter permeated our offices. We have a small staff. He was one of The Citizen’s two reporters. He is one of a kind, and irreplaceable. We are honored to have worked with him for the past 14 years.”

Munford reported on Peachtree City and Fayette County governments, as well as sharing police and fire stories with reporter Ben Nelms.

“The thing about Munford is that he was always there,” Nelms said Monday. “No story was too big or too small, and every story he wrote was invested with forethought and with an eye toward not just the obvious, but to those things that are sometimes not quite visible.
 
“To possess a natural curiosity and to display the willingness to see beyond the obvious is the mark of a real journalist. And as Munford would sometimes say, ‘I’m a newspaper man.’ John was always there to help. And he was my friend,” Nelms said.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; one son, Tyler; and one daughter, Katie; as well as his mother, who lives in Fayetteville.

Funeral plans will be announced later.

rmoc
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Any place to donate items to the Munford sale

I have some good items, does anyone have a contact to donate items

moelarrycurly
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Special Note Garage Sale

If you notice in the "Garage Sales" box on the right side of this page, there is going to be one this Saturday with proceeds going to Tyler and Katie Munford's higher education fund. 204 Sandown Dr., PTC.

PTC Observer
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Thanks MLC

for the heads up, anyone that valued Mr. Munford's work should show up and make a donation.

the whiting and...
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my cousin John was a great man

My cousin John was loved by everyone in are family he always made me feel happy when I was sad he always but a smile on my face and he was like my dad in some sort of way I loved him so much and still do he is an amazing cousin and he will always be in my heart but he is watching us from heaven

Silence Dogood
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A Genuine Fair Guy

Condolences to John's family.

Sandria
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Correction - survivors include his sister and brother

In addition, survivors also include his sister, Sallie Ann and his brother, Jed.

jevank
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My deepest condolences

John truly is irreplaceable. We will miss his articles and his willingness to chat with bloggers in the most gracious way.

My sympathies to his family. Know he will be very missed in the community.

wheeljc
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A Great Loss for the Greater Fayette Community

First, condolences to John's Family.

Second, this is a tremendous loss to the greater Fayette Community.

Found John covering multiple American Legion, Honor Flight and other patriotic events at 6 AM during the week, or mid day during weekends -- in addition to the coverage of local governments. He was always thorough, fair, and accurate. John will be sorely missed in this Community.

Rest In Peace John Munford.

SPQR
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Tragic loss

The passing of Mr. Munford is a tragic loss to all of us. I never met him but am still greatly saddened
by the untimely passing of someone who contributed so much.

ptctrader2010
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Huge loss for Fayette County and THE CITIZEN

What a wonderful man. I had a chance to work with John during one of my "political" appointments in PTC years ago. What a fair and balanced reporter. Cannot say enough nice things about him. My prayers go out to his family and all his friends. He will be difficult to replace.

LWW
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John Munford

There was never a nicer guy. He was a court house regular and liked by everyone. We will miss him. My condolences to his family.

Lloyd W. Walker

RT Tugger
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Such sad news

What a loss to this community! I never met John, but I submitted many news items to him. He always came across in his e-mails as an incredibly dedicated, kind man. Always helpful. Sometimes I would be amazed he would bother to type out such friendly words in response to a simple news submission. I am so very sorry for his wife and children. My deepest sympathies to them and the entire Munford family.

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RIP John Munford, My Sweet, Sweet Friend and Coworker

RIP John Munford, my sweet, sweet friend and coworker, I am still in shock. What a blessing to have known you and shared so much for the last 12 yrs. LOVING and PROUD Father and Husband!! GREAT Friend, Humble and Giving as they come.

You blushed every time I said “Here Comes The Nicest Man in Fayette County” as you entered The Citizen. You owned that buddy! The Citizen Newspaper will never ever be the same.

My heart is breaking for Marilyn, Tyler, Katie Bug. Praying for you and your family. I am here for you Marilyn and the kids ANYTIME you need me!

CWO
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Disbelief!

A good man leaves a good legacy. John was a good man.

Marilyn, Tyler, Katie, John’s Mom . . .

Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers, as is John.

Pily and I send you our heartfelt condolences. May the Good Lord strengthen you and grant you peace in your hour of sadness. And may He replace tears with fond memories of a loving husband, father, and son.

We never saw John without a smile and a good word. He leaves us all better for having known him.

The measure of a man is the love by which he is remembered and the pain by which he is missed. John will be sorely missed by his family, friends, co-workers, and all those who know him . . . and John will be remembered with much love.

John has left us all a very, very good legacy indeed!

Thank you, John.

Charles and Pily Oddo

tikigod
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...

My thoughts and prayers are with the family. Rest in peace John.

dar thompson
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WOW

So sorry to hear. John was a really great guy who was fair, as he always covered both sides to every story. He will be truly missed.

ctkcec
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John Munford

So very sorry to learn this. My prayers for the Munford family and also for The Citizen family.

David Epps

Citizen Bob
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What a shock

Just talked to John last Tuesday evening about cameras- he was his cheerful, curious, and engaging self. So very sorry to hear the news and extend our heartfelt condolences to Marilyn, Tyler, & Katie...

Spyglass
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Way too young, prayers to the Family

RIP

pcocpa
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John Munford

So sorry to hear this news. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. Our prayers will be for him and his family.

PTC Observer
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John Munford

To his entire family, including The Citizen family, I extend my heartfelt condolences.

PTCO

NUK_1
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Terrible news....RIP John

41 years old is much too soon. He was a good man. This really sucks.

Steve Brown
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RIP John Munford

Condolences to the family.

Cyclist
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"I’m a newspaper man"

My thoughts and prayers to the Munford family.

ginga1414
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I Will Greatly Miss John Munford's Smile

I will miss seeing John's friendly smile at our commission meetings. I will so miss his open and accepting approach to everyone he met.

Sometimes John would bring Tyler and Katie with him to those long boring commission meetings, and it was so apparent how much he loved them. John always made sure they were comfortable and settled with everything they needed. He was a patient and understanding father.

And, I will miss his writing. His May 13, 2014 article titled "Listening To The Candidates" was very special to me. If there is anyone who missed that article, please read it.

John was a sweet person and I feel so fortunate to have known him. Fayette County has lost a very special and talented man.

moelarrycurly
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Only a few months ago

John told me about his father and his newspaper background. He spoke with such pride. John was a wonderful man, and I will miss him tremendously. His willingness to sit through countless, endless meetings to try to understand what the story was and to put it in writing for all of us to be informed about our community. Never once did he complain. He typed faster than anyone I have ever seen type and he would cock his head to the side to make room for more information coming at him than one person could ever absorb.

To Jerri, John and I shared an email last month about your "debut" on local TV. I hope to share it with you soon.

To Tyler and Katie, some day soon, I hope this will give you some comfort:

My children you will never know how it hurt me so,
To know it was too soon to have to let you go.
For you see, the Lord was calling me from his Heaven high.
Wanted me to come to be right by His side.
Please don't cry when you think of me.
Just look up and smile,
As I am always watching over you.

To Marilyn, you chose a wonderful, wonderful man. Thank you for sharing him with this city and county in the countless hours he devoted to being the reporter that he was.

To the Beverlys and staff and Ben Nelms, thank you for giving us the best darn newspaper with stories that impact us all so much in this little county of ours. I share in your loss.

Betsy Tyler
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John

I had the pleasure of working with John these past 14 years as he covered Peachtree City. He was always fair and was a joy to work with. I also had the privilege of calling him a friend. To John's family, including his work family at The Citizen, I offer my sincere condolences. He was a good, good man and he will be sorely missed.

Davids mom
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A true journalist

Sincere condolences to his family, co-workers and friends. He will be missed.

NeilSullivan
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Sad

John is a good man who I had the pleasure to get to know. He will be missed. Condolences to Marilyn and the chikdren.

Ryan Housley
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Our Friend

The news of John’s passing is heartbreaking and was a shock to our entire team. John was a tremendous advocate for HeroBox and many other causes. He was pillar of our community and we were proud to call him our friend. – HeroBox.org