STAMFORD, Conn. -- Cecie Munkenbeck died peacefully Aug. 17 at Stamford Hospital at the age of 96.
She was born in New Orleans, and attended Noroton Convent of the Sacred Heart in Darien, Conn. She received her bachelor’s degree in English at Sophie Newcomb College at Tulane University, where she also studied toward a master's degree in English. She served as Queen of Proteus Ball in the 1941 Mardi Gras Carnival.
Visiting a cousin who was dating a Brigadier in Vermont, she met Alfred H. Munkenbeck Jr. of Brooklyn, N.Y., while he was training for battle in World War II. They corresponded throughout the war and were married shortly after his return from Europe.
She worked in New York City as a researcher for Fortune magazine while Al completed law school. After a few years in Brooklyn Heights, they moved to Riverside, Conn. and raised their family there until 1960, when the family relocated to Geneva, Switzerland. They returned to Old Greenwich in 1963, where they lived with a view of the Stamford lighthouse until moving to the Edgehill Community in Stamford in 2003.
Munkenbeck played an active role in the lives of her five children, supporting their activities in school, organizing trips and cultural experiences.
She played key roles in supporting community organizing for inner city neighborhoods and after-school programming for youths in New York City and Fairfield County. When her children were grown, she took courses in landscape design and returned to help her professor publish a book. She then grew her lifelong interest in plants and garden design into a business contracting with homeowners to create or transform their gardens.
She pursued her love for the natural world and writing by publishing a whimsical children's book of poetry featuring the native birds of Sanibel Island.
Munkenbeck also was active in the social life of the town, developing a wide circle of interesting friends and organizing events and parties. She continued this well into her years at Edgehill, where she would collect dozens of her fellow residents for singing and refreshments particularly for Halloween and the winter solstice day.
She is survived by her five children, Alfred Munkenbeck III of London, England, Peter Munkenbeck of Cambridge, Mass., Celina Munkenbeck Kersh of Mamaroneck, N.Y., Anne Munkenbeck of Wilton and Mary Munkenbeck Bennett of Darien; 15 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Saint Catherine of Siena Church, 4 Riverside Ave. in Riverside. There will be a private interment followed by a repast. The wake will be from 5-8 p.m. Monday at Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home, 31 Arch St., Greenwich.