Donald Stuart Monroe
1939 - 2021
Donald Stuart Monroe of Westminster Place in Evanston, having lived a model life dedicated to his family, the needs of children and the field of education, passed away on June 22 of complications due to pulmonary fibrosis. He was 82 years old.

Don Monroe was born in Jamaica Queens, New York in 1939 to Stuart Alexander Monroe and Margaret Monroe. His family moved to the Chicago area in the 1950's. He was a graduate of New Trier High School in Winnetka and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Lake Forest College, a Master's in the Art of Teaching from Northwestern University and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Monroe enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an educational leader in the Chicago Area and nationally. He began his career as an English teacher at Chicago's Roosevelt High School and then at Wheaton High School. Monroe later held the position of Assistant Superintendent in the Arlington Heights Public School District and then served as the Principal/Superintendent of the Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth. For nearly 20 years he led the Winnetka Public Schools as its Superintendent. After his career in public education, Monroe worked as the Principal at the Francis Parker School in Chicago, the Executive Director of the Catherine Cook School in Chicago and the Executive Director of the Baker Demonstration School in Evanston.

A widely respected and recognized leader in progressive education, Monroe served on numerous boards and launched many educational initiatives. He was the founding board member of the Winnetka Early Education Alliance, the Wolcott School, The Northwestern Urban/Suburban Coalition, Lincoln Hall, The Hubbard Woods/Hendricks School Partnership, the Namaste Charter School and the Winnetka Teacher Institute.

Throughout his career, and in his personal life, Don lived out the highest standards of personal integrity, devotion to family and an undying belief in equity, equality and the critical importance of access to a quality education for each and every child. He could match wits with any high powered academic but was most comfortable in the company of those who shared his down-to-earth, egalitarian ethic. Though born in the New York area, Monroe was a Chicagoan through and through and reveled in the city's diverse, broad-shouldered culture and working-class roots. A lifelong athlete and sports fan, he followed and rooted on the Bears, the Bulls, the Northwestern Wildcats, and his beloved Cubs to his dying day.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Margaret Murphy Monroe, to whom he was utterly devoted and by his four children, Marjorie Monroe of Skokie, IL, Timothy Monroe and his spouse Cheryl Nixon of Durango, CO, Heather Rohner and her spouse David Rohner of Evanston, IL, Donald Murphy Monroe and his spouse, Sarah Eva Monroe also of Evanston, IL. Monroe leaves seven grandchildren: Kaleigh Rebecca Rohner, Owen Stuart Monroe, Alexander Rudolph Rohner, Christopher Murphy Rohner, Michael Domingo Monroe, Foster Ellen Monroe, and Milo Jacob Flay Monroe. Monroe is also survived by his two sisters Kathy Monroe Miller of Grandberry, Texas and Linda Monroe Cowan of Venice, Florida, and was preceded in death by his brother, Lee Alexander Monroe. Services will be private.

Published by Chicago Tribune on Jun. 28, 2021.
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As a teacher in the Winnetka Public Schools I knew Don as my Sup't, boss & colleague. I felt he was more of a colleague than a "boss." He was approachable, intelligent, thoughtful, funny and compassionate. I will remember him as a lovely person and a decent human being. I am so sorry for your loss.
Maureen Buchholz
June 29, 2021
Murphy and family, I know that you already know how much your dad DID for me (professionally and personally), and how much he meant to me. He connected everyone with everyone else. And anyone who knew him at all -- from the world of education especially - is still benefiting from the connections he was able to establish between people. He seemed to just be able to look at you for a minute and a half before he would know exactly who you were -- where your insecurities were - and instantly found a way to connect to those - to make you feel better about everything! - and to also then establish the perfect network of others in which you would be able to thrive -- and become your best self --- in order to help others do the same. It was 1996 when Don basically met me, interrogated me politely, and then talked me into applying for the job that I was subsequently hired for (after a real interview process with a team of Parker faculty and staff, don't worry!). This is a job and a place where I was accepted, supported, nurtured, advised, educated in a way which enabled me to actually contribute to others in those same ways. I have loved and remained there for 25 years. I have met colleagues and friends who I will keep forever -- because of Don. Thank you. xoxo
Susan Weingartner
June 28, 2021
My thoughts and prayers are with you Peggy. Remembering the happy days at New Trier. May your memories give you strength. Gail
Gail Stubbs Haight
June 28, 2021
I came to know Don when I was Superintendent and earlier an administrator at the Northern Suburban Special Education District. Don was staunch supporter of children with disabilities and a great educational leader.
Dave Peterson
June 28, 2021
I am deeply saddened to learn of Don´s death. I regret that my change of life over the past two years kept me from him. He was my friend. I was Don´s CFO at Parker. I hosted his retirement party from my home and met all of, you, his kids (and of course Peggy) several times. He had such a profound effect on my life. I learned so much at his humble feet. I know how much all of you sacrificed your time with him because of how much of himself he gave. I hope you find comfort and peace in knowing that many will benefit forever because of your sacrifice. I take comfort in knowing that you all KNOW how very much he was loved, adored, respected and valued. My deepest condolences for your loss.
Evonne Taylor
June 28, 2021
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