Robert Malcolm “Don” Munro, the founder of Munro & Company, died on April 27 at the age of 94.
Born in Newton, Mass. on Sept. 27, 1927, Munro graduated from Yale and proudly served in the Army, where he was editor of the Stars and Stripes newspaper. He moved to Hot Springs, Ark. with his wife Barbara and their four children (the fifth came along in 1963) in 1959. It was there where he established a shoe manufacturing facility that in 1975, became Munro & Company, Inc.
His business accomplishments were many, and garnered the respect of his peers, as evidenced by his election as president of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) in 2003, his induction into FN’s Footwear Hall of Fame at the 2004 FNAAs, and induction into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame in 2005.
But it was his philanthropic endeavors for which he will be most remembered. In 1985, he was awarded the T. Kenyon Holly Award, the highest philanthropic honor in the shoe industry. In 1992 he became the first recipient of the Pew Foundation’s American Philanthropy Award. Also in 1992, he was awarded the Roots and Wings Award and the Lugean Chilcote Award from the Arkansas Community Foundation, which he led as president for ten years.
And just last month, Munro received a star on the Arkansas Walk of Fame in Hot Springs, which officially declared April 14 as “Don Munro Day” by Mayor Pat McCabe.
He is survived by his wife Barbara, daughter Lindy, son Bruce and his wife Mary Beth and their children Nikki, Hannah, Braden, son Neil and his wife Martha Jane Murray-Munro and their children Sarah and Evan, daughter Mollie and her husband Tod Swiecichowski, daughter Christine and her husband Robert Jackson, and over 100 relatives in his extended family.
Visitation was held at Gross Funeral Home in Hot Springs on Sunday, May 1. The memorial service was held at Garvan Gardens also in Hot Springs on Tuesday, May 3.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a donation to a charity meaningful to the benefactor.