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.