, Gloucester, MA

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March 15, 2011

Jim Munn: 1938 to 2011

Coach, activist, writer dies at 72

Jim Munn, the longtime Gloucester High track coach, community activist, writer and regular Opinion page contributor to the Times, has passed away after a near six-month battle with brain cancer.

Munn, 72, passed away Sunday, some four months after he announced his resignation from his coaching post at the high school.

It was truly a full 72 years of life for Munn, as "intensity" was the one word that best described the incomparable coach, father and friend.

"He wasn't one of those 'sleeping in' types of people," his 35-year-old son, Janda Ricci-Munn, said Monday. "He really attacked each day of his life. He woke up around 4:30 every morning and lived every minute of that day until he collapsed at 8:30 or 9 at night.

"Whatever it was that day — writing or coaching — he would exhaust himself each and every day he lived."

Ricci-Munn said that, for now, services for his father will be private.

Exactly one week before his passing, the ever-adventurous Munn tackled one more issue in his life. Allergic to shellfish, Munn waited decades to again taste one of Cape Ann's best-known products.

"We literally carried him to (J.T.) Farnham's so he could have a plate of fried clams," Ricci-Munn said. "He said it was one of his best days. That really summed up how he lived. No fear, address the issues in your life."

Early Life

Born in Warren, Pa. on Nov. 1, 1938, Munn would tour the country throughout the first 25 years of his life.

Though he always wrote about his childhood fondly, Munn by no means had an easy life growing up as his father, a musician, and his mother, a homemaker, did not have much money to work with.

"He always talked and wrote about the adventures he had as a boy," Ricci-Munn said. "But he had a hard life early, with his father always traveling for work."

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