Gretchen Munson (Thannhauser)

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Margaret Charlotte Munson (Thannhauser)

Also Known As: "Gretchen"
Birthplace: München, Bayern, Deutschland (Germany)
Death: August 25, 2009 (85)
Concord, MA, United States (sepsis)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Dr. Siegfried Joseph Thannhauser and Franziska Thannhauser
Wife of Lawrence Shipley Munson
Mother of Kitty Munson Cooper and Shipley J.Munson
Sister of Private and Private

Managed by: Kitty Munson Cooper
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gretchen Munson (Thannhauser)

Her obituary in the East Hampton Star is at the bottom of the page here under Margaret Munson:

Here is the obituary her family wrote for the Harvard Alumni Association (note all the years after family names are years of graduation from Harvard):


Margaret Thannhauser Munson, known as Gretchen, a former art critic, magna cum laude Radcliffe graduate, mother of two and beloved wife of Lawrence S. Munson, died Tuesday, August 25 in Emerson Hospital, Concord, MA. She was 85 and lived in Acton, Mass.

The cause of death was sepsis due to a perforated stomach ulcer according to family members.

She distinguished herself at Winsor School, Boston MA and at Radcliffe College where she made Phi Beta Kappa her junior year there. She graduated 1946 magna cum laude having majored in Fine Arts. She married Lawrence Shipley Munson '42 JD '48 in 1947 and they moved to New York City where she became an art critic for Art News magazine covering the early exhibits of the action school of painters. Two children followed and she gave up working to devote herself to motherhood.

However she added charitable work to her schedule. She was a hostess for the UN. She invented and organized the highly successful Radcliffe Art tours which raised money for Radcliffe by selling tickets to view homes of fellow graduates with great art works. In East Hampton, she was a stalwart at the Ladies Village Improvement Society, including assuming the role of Chairman for its principal fund-raising activity, the 114 year-old annual Fair.

After living for fifty years in New York and East Hampton, Gretchen and Larry retired to the Boston area in Massachusetts in 2001 to live near family members.

Gretchen was born in Munich Germany and grew up in Freiburg, Germany, then Brookline, Massachusetts. She had to leave Germany with her family in 1935 as her father was Jewish. Her catholic mother, Francesca Reiner Thannhauser, was instrumental in getting the family to move to Boston. Her father, Dr Siegfried Joseph Thannhauser, took a professorship at Tufts Medical school. A biography of his life was written for the Falk Foundatation , Siegfried Thannhauser (1885-1962) Physician and Scientist in Turbulant Times by Alan F. Hofmann and Nepomuk Zöllner. The Falk Foundation presents the Thannhauser-Medal and Thannhauser-Prize alternately every two years in his honor.

She always emphasized the value of education to her children both of whom are cum laude Harvard graduates. Her son Shipley John Munson '80 MA '81, of Park City UT, also has an MBA from Chicago Business School and has had a distinguished career in Advertising and Marketing. Her daughter Kitty Munson Cooper '72, of Fort Collins CO, is a world champion Bridge player and owns her own web design business, Open Sky Web Design.

She is survived by her husband, her two sisters Gertrude T. "Trudi" Beyer of Webster, NY and Anastasia T. "Stasi" Dunau of Bethesda, MD, her two children, and six grandchildren.

The family plans to have a memorial service once her husband is healthy enough to participate. Her family asked that memorial donations be made to the LVIS to plant or adopt a tree in her honor, the URL is and address is LVIS, 95 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 11937

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Gretchen Munson (Thannhauser)'s Timeline

April 22, 1924
München, Bayern, Deutschland
August 25, 2009
Age 85
Concord, MA, United States