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Lateef MUNGIN Obituary
MUNGIN, Lateef Award-Winning Journalist and Beloved Family Man Dead at 41 Lateef Din Mungin, an award- winning CNN News Desk Editor and former investigative reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, died suddenly on Friday, Feb. 28. Funeral services are 11 a.m. Friday, at Salem Missionary Baptist Church, 4700 Church Street in Lilburn. Viewing will be from noon to 8 p.m. today at Gregory B. Levitt & Sons, 914 Scenic Highway. Lateef, a respected and beloved journalist, was born in Queens, New York on October 27, 1972. As the first child of Ted and Geraldine Mungin, he received an inspirational name that would help to shape his life. Ted Mungin chose to name his son, Lateef, because it means gentle and kind in Arabic. Ted chose Din as a middle name because it means faith. Lateef, a member of The Faith Center of Lilburn, lived up to the legacy of his name. He was a man who loved God, his family and his exciting job at CNN. Lateef was known for his quick wit, his winning smile, and his ability to produce excellent work under deadline pressure as a writer and a night manager. His colleagues at CNN say that he "brought the funny" to their day and was always able to lighten the daily stress of breaking news at the 24-hour international cable news network. He used jokes, puns and cat video breaks to lighten the load. Lateef grew up in the San Francisco Bay area of California. His mother Geraldine Mungin describes him as a fun-loving and "precocious child with many friends." "Everyone loved Lateef," she said. "He was playful and loved to tease his teachers. His idea of fun was speaking Spanish to a very serious Spanish teacher using the most over-the-top American accent he could. He could do better--he just wanted to make her laugh." As a teen, he wrote a short-run comic book called "The Cipher" that was published by a division of Marvel Comics. He also was a hip-hop dancer and rapper. Lateef attended Morehouse College in 1994 and graduated from San Francisco State in 2000 as class valedictorian at the same time as his sister, Rashida Mungin. "He was more than my brother - he was my best friend," Mungin said. Lateef later returned to Georgia to work as a police reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2001. He worked at the paper for seven years covering stories that would often land his name on the front page. At the AJC, Lateef excelled at narrative writing. Mungin penned a six-part series on a cold case that was featured on the Harvard Neiman Narrative journal. Mungin also worked on a team of investigate reporters. Lateef met his future wife, D. Aileen Dodd, at work. He asked to be transferred to the Gwinnett bureau where she worked as an education reporter after seeing her picture as a new employee. He told friends that he would "marry that girl someday." Aileen Dodd-Mungin said that Lateef would come to her desk to talk almost everyday. She would tell him that, "This is a newsroom, not a nightclub." But eventually, his smile melted her heart. "Lateef was the love of my life," said Dodd-Mungin. "On our first date, he took me to an Anita Baker concert at Chastain Park. It wasn't until we were married for three years that he would tell me how much he spent just to make a good first impression. The tickets for the show cost $200 each. He paid for those tickets on a young reporter's salary without even knowing what our future would hold." Lateef married his soul mate on Oct. 30, 2004. They worked hard to raise their two girls Jade, 13 and Ami, 8. Lateef was a proud cheer dad, tennis dad and basketball dad who would take time for tea parties with his girls. Although he worked on the holidays, he never missed dressing up as Santa Claus for his kids on Christmas morning. He would don full costume, beard and padded belly despite being exhausted from working the overnight shift. His antics had his kids believing in Santa long after their classmates became unbelievers. In addition to being parents, Lateef and his wife also were screenwriting partners. They wrote a romantic comedy and a horror script. Lateef joined the staff of CNN in February 2008. From day one, he loved his job. It showed in his work ethic. One night on the way to work, Lateef fell into an uncovered manhole causing a deep cut on his leg. He went to work instead of seeking medical care. A colleague noticed his blood soaked pants. Reluctantly, he went to the hospital. On the CNN Wires Desk, Lateef wrote and edited stories that ran on CNN.com and were used for TV news scripts. He also supervised a team of editors and writers who handle national and international stories. His group won several awards including a Peabody for coverage of the Gulf Oil spill in 2009. Mungin starred in several documentaries and appeared as a guest on NPR and numerous cable news shows including "Good Morning America" and "Nancy Grace." Lateef was preceded in death by his father Ted who died on January 24, 2014. He leaves to celebrate his life, his mother, Geraldine; his wife, Aileen Dodd-Mungin; his daughters, Jade Talara and Ami Angelina Dodd-Mungin; his sister, Rashida Mungin; and a host of aunts, uncles and other relatives and friends.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Mar. 4 to Mar. 6, 2014
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