Gen. Mundy laid to rest

By Jessi Stone | Apr 19, 2014
Photo by: Jessi Stone

Gen. Carl E. Mundy Jr., 30th commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, was laid to rest Saturday afternoon at Green Hill Cemetery with his family, friends and fellow Marines at his side.

The pews at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville were packed as many of Mundy’s grandchildren took turns at the podium to pay tribute to their beloved grandfather.

His grandson, David Mundy, said he didn’t think his family would be back in the church so soon having buried their grandmother, Linda Sloan Mundy, less than a year ago. Their family has a rich history with the First UMC of Waynesville.

Linda Mundy’s ancestors were founding members of the church and multiple generations had been christened, married and had their final services there as well.

It was in that same sanctuary that Linda and Carl Mundy met when they were 9-years old and it is also where they married in 1957.

Several of his 11 grandchildren took turns during the funeral telling stories about their grandfather's sense of humor, teasing and his kind heart. His grandson, Robert, told a story of how he visited Mundy at his home in North Carolina when he was a child. They went climbing on Rock Mountain and Robert slipped and busted his nose.

“But instead of telling me to turn my head back and plug my nose like most adults tell you to do, he told me to let it bleed on my shirt,” Robert said. “And when we got back home he had me run inside and tell Grandma, ‘You think I look bad, you should see the other guy.’”

His granddaughters, Krista and Lauren, describe Mundy as their hero, and not just because of his service to his country, but for his dedication and love for their entire family.

“He never failed to tell us how much he loved us,” Krista said.

While visiting him during his last days, Krista and Laura recalled their grandfather’s bedroom at his home in Virginia. They said it wasn’t adorned with all of his medals and awards, which are many, but the walls were covered with pictures of his wife, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mundy taught his grandchildren that all the accomplishments in the world meant very little without loved ones to share them with.

Sloan Mundy spoke for her father, Col. Timothy Mundy. She said joining the Marines was not a profession for Mundy — it was a calling that he took seriously. He was a leader who took the time to speak to his Marines no matter what their rank and took the time to get to know their spouses and families.

“He didn’t just wear the uniform, he lived it,” she said.

It was the example he set for his two sons, Timothy and Carl Mundy III, that led them to follow in his footsteps by joining the Marine Corps.

In another example of his sense of humor, another granddaughter told a story of how she accompanied her grandfather to France on a World War I tour. She said their tour guide was a self-professed Buddhist hippie who spoke a lot about auras and having a free spirit.

It didn’t take long for Mundy to get to know her and find something to tease the tour guide  Stephanie  about, something he also liked to do with his grandchildren.

Every day Mundy would see Stephanie and say, “Is your chi in balance today? Your aura is looking a little pink.”

Mundy’s granddaughter said the guide took it all in stride and at the very end of the trip, Stephanie confided in her that when she heard a general was going to be on the trip, she figured he’d be barking orders at her all day.

“She said she didn’t realize he’d be such a diplomat and take interest in everyone on the trip,” his granddaughter recounted through her tears. “She said ‘My first opinion was wrong and I’m so glad I met him.’”

Mundy also faced his illness, Merkel cell carcinoma, with grace and humor. In the hospital, Mundy was happy to know he was on the same floor as some injured Marines. He went down to visit with them and one asked him for his autograph. His hands were so shaky that his signature wasn’t legible and Mundy told the Marine, “If any asks, tell them I was drunk when I signed it.”

Rev. Dawn Gilliland said Mundy learned lessons of faith as a child along side Linda that inspired confident living for the rest of his days.

“He was a person of purpose, integrity and great love,” she said. “God’s love filled the general with joy and gave him the energy to accomplish great things.”

Gilliland said Mundy had a way of expecting the same of others, but it was in a way that inspired others instead of intimidating because he believed in people. She then read a verse that perfectly exemplifies Gen. Mundy’s life:

"Ministry is giving when you feel like keeping, praying for others when you need to be prayed for, feeding others when your own soul is hungry, living truth before people even when you can't see results, hurting with other people even when your own hurt can't be spoken, keeping your word even when it is not convenient, it is being faithful when your flesh wants to run away."

The funeral was followed by a procession to Green Hill Cemetery led by Gen. James Amos, current commandant of the Marines, the Marine Band, hundreds of Marines and friends and family.

The gravesite service included a cannon salute and a flyover by four MV-22 Ospreys.