Samuel “Sam” James Munn, born February 11, 1938 in Houston, Texas passed away Tuesday, January 14, 2020. He is survived by his wife Jane Taylor Johnson, step-children: Daniel Johnson and wife Sarah, Dana Johnson Garden and husband Bill, and Janna Johnson Garza, and his four grandchildren Madison and Macey Frers, and Jonah and Clark Johnson. He was preceded in death by his mother Helen Nichols Munn and his father Captain James William (JW) Munn. His birth in Houston was pure happenstance when his mother when into labor while attending The Annunciation Catholic Church to hear her Uncle, Father Anton Frank, deliver mass that day. By all other measures, however, Sam was “BOI” (Born on the Island) … a true Galveston native in body, mind, and spirit.
Sam attended Sacred Heart Catholic School, Ball High School and Kirwan High School, but left school early to help support his mother after his father’s passing in 1950. He joined the Naval Reserves at 17, and he was called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sam’s mother passed away following a devastating house fire at their home in Galveston’s Silk-Stocking District on 24th and M Street in the early 1960’s. During the ensuing years, Sam held various jobs and ultimately signed on in 1967 as a Machinist’s journeyman at Union Carbide, where he worked until his retirement in 2001.
There was never any mystery about Sam’s passions. The things and people he loved had his full attention and enthusiasm: Labor Unions, Democratic Politics, motorcycles, and his beloved Galveston Island. Among other Union memberships, Sam was a member of The Machinists Union Local, and he served as the Steward of his Machinist Union and on the National Machinists Planning Committee. He was also President of the Machinists Non-Partisan Political League (MNPL), Vice-President of the Texas AFL-CIO, President of the Galveston County Central Labor Council and of the Texas City Metal Trades. Throughout his life, he was also a loyal Texas Democrat. He served as his local Precinct Chair, was a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC), and attended two Democratic National Conventions as a delegate in 1992 and 1996.
Sam started riding motorcycles when he was twelve years old. In the early 1970’s, he purchased his first BMW motorcycle. From that day forward, he became an exclusive BMW rider, enthusiast, and active member of the BMW Motorcycle Owner’s Association. He owned Galveston Cycle and Accessories, a BMW vintage motorcycle repair shop for over thirty years. For many years, he and his wife, Jane, traveled across the country on BMW touring bikes to attend BMW National Rallies where they served as vendor chairs for seventeen years.
Sam loved Galveston Island, and relished his family’s deep history of living there. He was a descendent of Edward Quirk, one of the first pioneers from Ireland to settle in Galveston and a Republic of Texas Veteran. Sam’s father, Captain JW Munn, was a commercial fisherman and a captain, who instilled a love for boats and sailing in his young son. Sam lived on the Island during its heyday and was a walking encyclopedia of Galveston history. He told amazing stories of happenings and goings on in the back room of the Balinese Room and more than a couple of stories about outrunning the police both in fast cars and on fast motorcycles. He also appreciated the finer things: (in no particular order) rum and coke, a good margarita, beef fajitas, cheese enchiladas, very crispy bacon, a sunny side up fried egg. And last but not least, Sam always enjoyed a good crab cake and the bread pudding from Fisherman’s Wharf.
Sam especially adored his grandkids, and relished being their Papa. As he did with his stepson, he helped his grandsons build championship Boy Scout Pinewood Derby cars. He also loved visits from his granddaughters in the summer and showing them around Galveston. He worked tirelessly for causes he believed in, stood up for fairness in the workplace, always fought the good fight, and spent most of his life trying to make life better for those around him. He was a good man.
Services will be held Friday January 17, 2020 at Malloy & Son Funeral Home at 3028 Broadway, Galveston, Texas. Visitation will begin at 10:00 am, followed by funeral service at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Lewy Body Dementia Association (https://www.lbda.org/ways_to_give).