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Munro legacy endures through fund

"Secretary of State Ralph Munro stopped in to the office a few weeks back, but we were too busy to see him. Now that's a heck of thing to say - too busy to make time for the secretary of state - and the shame is going to stick with us for a while. You have our humblest apologies, sir.Thus reproved, we can relay to readers that the occasion of his visit was the establishment of the new George and Betty Munro Foundation, an annual scholarship fund that will support one or more Bainbridge High School graduates each year as they head off to college. The family has provided scholarships for local youngsters since 1963, and the new foundation, to be handled through American Marine Bank's trust department, will keep that going in perpetuity.Island short-timers may not be familiar the pioneer Munro clan's ties to island public education. A brief primer here, as relayed by Munro:The parents of patriarch George Munro - Ralph Munro's father, longtime island resident who died last year at age 99 - arrived on the island in 1899, settling at Crystal Springs. From the get-go, they were instrumental in establishing schools at the island's south end. Munro's mother Elizabeth Troll Munro taught at Pleasant Beach School during the worst of the Depression, later teaching at McDonald and Lincoln schools. She succumbed to a heart condition at age 52 in 1962, her passing mourned at the time by the Bainbridge school superintendent as a real blow to the Bainbridge Island School District.The family continued to support local instruction, and Ralph Munro went on to make good in public service. He will retire at the end of this year, after five terms as the state's third-highest elected official.Munro announced the foundation in honor of his parents, and on behalf of himself and his brothers Dave of Vancouver and Ron of Woodinville - Bainbridge High School graduates all. As befits the program's honorees, first priority in the scholarship awards will go to a youngster who wants to go into the teaching profession.While he now resides primarily in Olympia, Munro will always vie for the title of Bainbridge Island's First Citizen.Students in island public schools and their parents owe Munro and his family a doff of the cap, and many thanks."

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