Buck Institute Mourns Death of Catherine Munson, Long-Time Trustee and former Board Chair

Iconic Realtor was Community Activist and Philanthropist 

March 4, 2014: Catherine Munson, the President of LVP Marin Realtors, died on March 3, 2014, at Kaiser Hospital in San Rafael after a short illness. She was 86. Credited with helping develop Lucas Valley, Munson was known for her long association with modernistic residential housing developer Joseph Eichler. She was also a major civic leader in Marin County, actively involved with the Buck Institute, the Marin Symphony and the Mexican relief organization Project Amigo. She was also the principal developer of McInnis Park Golf Center.

Munson first came on the Board of the Buck Institute in 2004, serving for nine years before taking a required year off. She was re-appointed to the board in December 2013. Her early interest in science played a role in her decision to become a trustee. She graduated with an M.A. in Microbiology and Biochemistry in 1950 from the University of Nebraska and worked in basic research prior to beginning her career in real estate. She served as Chair of the Board in 2011 and was a major donor to the Institute.  

“All of us here at the Buck Institute mourn Catherine’s passing,” said Brian Kennedy, PhD, Buck Institute President and CEO. “Her leadership on our Board, her support of our staff, and her enthusiasm for our mission has been unflagging. She has been a true ambassador for us in the local community. Her philanthropic generosity has inspired others to become advocates for the Institute. With her early training in science, it was a particular joy to watch her interact with our researchers. Her friendship and guidance will be sorely missed.”  

Munson was born in 1928 in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated from high school in Salina, Kansas. She married her first husband, William Munson while at the University of Nebraska. The couple moved to San Francisco in 1954, where she worked with the Atomic Energy Commission at the University of California, San Francisco before quitting to raise the first of her three daughters. At one point, the Munson’s bought an Eichler in Terra Linda; she fell in love with the modern design and got to know Joseph Eichler. What started out as a one-day-a-week sales job became a full-time passion. She founded Lucas Valley Properties in 1967 and became a Certified Commercial Investment Member. She went on to develop major residential and industrial projects throughout Marin including Sunrise Pointe in Mill Valley and Creekwood Professional Center in Novato. Lucas Valley Properties sold Skywalker Ranch to Filmmaker George Lucas.  

In addition to her service at the Buck Institute, Ms. Munson also served on the boards of the Marin Symphony Association, the Marin County Historical Society, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Civic Center Conservancy. She is survived by three daughters, Lisa, Shelley and Adrienne.   

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