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  • "Ellie: I just learned of George's passing. I always felt..."
    - Elaine LeBuhn
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    - Barbara Ann Cook
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    - Edgar Lansbury
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MUNROE--George B., who led the copper mining and manufacturing company Phelps Dodge Corporation from 1969 to 1987, died painlessly and peacefully in his sleep on August 19. Munroe led Phelps Dodge through a difficult period for the domestic copper mining industry, as it struggled to meet growing competition from abroad and new environmental requirements at home. Munroe continued to increase the company's production as a new hydro-metallurgical process was developed to reduce the need for smelting in the production process and Phelps Dodge, which had been the third largest United States copper producer, emerged as the domestic industry leader and one of the largest producers in the world. Before joining Phelps Dodge, Munroe practiced law in New York as an associate with Cravath, Swain and Moore and Debevoise, Plimpton and McLean and worked in the Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany in the early 1950's, serving first in Bonn as a lawyer and later in Nuremberg as a justice of the U.S Court of Restitution Appeals of the Allied High Commission. Munroe was a trustee of Dartmouth College for 14 years and the chairman of its board for three years. He was also a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, serving on several of it's committees for 25 years, and chairing the Museum's finance committee for 8 years. Other board memberships included the Henry Street Settlement, the YMCA of Greater New York and the Academy of Political Science, of which he was chairman for 10 years. He was a director of several major corporations, including the New York Life Insurance Company, the Manufacturers Hanover and Chemical banks, the Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, Manville Corporation and New York Times Company and was a Public Governor of the New York Stock Exchange. His service in the Navy during World War II included duty as a combat information center officer on the battleship Maryland in the Pacific. The Maryland took part in the invasion of Okinawa in 1945, where it survived damage from Kamikazi plane attacks. As a young man, Munroe was an outstanding basketball player on three Ivy League championship teams at Dartmouth and led Dartmouth to the national championship game of the N.C.A.A. tournament in 1942. That year, he led the Eastern Intercollegiate League in scoring and was named to several All-America Teams. Later, while attending Harvard Law School, he played in the professional league for the St. Louis Bombers and Boston Celtics. Munroe graduated from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School with honors and from Oxford University in England where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Munroe is survived by his wife of more than 45 years, Elinor Bunin Munroe, an artist and award-wining film maker, and by two sons by a previous marriage, Ralph of Orange, Virginia and Taylor of Atenas, Costa Rica and a grandson, Zachary. Mr. Munroe decided not to have a funeral or memorial service. Contributions may be made to the George B. Munroe Scholarship Fund at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755 or to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028 in lieu of flowers or condolences.

Published in The New York Times on Aug. 24, 2014
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