A photo of Dorothy Levis Munroe

Dorothy Levis Munroe

December 23, 1922 - June 12, 2019

Dorothy Levis Munroe, age 96, died Wednesday, June 12, 2019, following a brief illness. 

Dorothy Munroe was born in Baltimore, Maryland, where she, her twin sister, Katheryne, and older sister Grace grew up in Roland Park. After graduating together from the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where the twins were both inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Dorothy and Katheryne came to the University of Delaware, where they completed their master’s degrees in chemistry. There the twins met their future husbands: a pair of instructors in the Department of History, John Munroe and Richard McCormick.


In 1945 Dorothy and John Munroe were married, followed a month later by the wedding of Katheryne and Richard McCormick, marking the beginning of two marriages and friendships that lasted more than 60 years. Dorothy completed her graduate studies in chemistry as her first child, Stephen, was born. As her family grew with the birth of Carol (1948) and John Michael (1953), her career underwent a hiatus during which she participated in many League of Women Voters and AAUW projects, along with other volunteer pursuits, as well as working on the 1950 national census and running a special, off-year Newark census.


In 1958 Dorothy Munroe was appointed as the first woman member of the Newark Special School District Board of Education and was subsequently the first woman elected to that board, the first in a field with 11 men. A few years after that, she began a new career teaching high school mathematics, teaching first at Dickinson High School and later at Newark High School. In 1983 she retired from teaching, simultaneously with her husband’s retirement from his 42-year career as H. Rodney Sharp Professor of History at the University of Delaware.

In the decades following their retirement the couple traveled widely and enjoyed time with their children and grandchildren, especially during summers at Cape Cod and winter vacations in Puerto Rico. Dorothy served for 20 years as a volunteer tax counselor and team leader with the AARP tax aide program. Into her eighties and beyond, she remained active in sports such as tennis, cycling, golf and swimming. Following the death of her husband in 2006, Dorothy moved to Cokesbury Village, where she maintained an active, independent lifestyle.


Dorothy Munroe is survived by her three children and their spouses and partners, Stephen and Cordelia Munroe of Harwich, Massachusetts and their children David and Margaret, Carol Munroe and András Riedlmayer of Cambridge, Massachusetts and their children Alexander and Anna, Michael Munroe and Melanie Eleuterio of Magnolia, Delaware and Michael’s children Randall, Richard and Ada. 


A memorial service followed by a reception will be held on Saturday, June 29, at 2 PM at Cokesbury Village auditorium, 726 Loveville Rd., Hockessin, DE 19707. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Newark Senior Center, 200 Whitechapel Drive, Newark, DE 19713 or Planned Parenthood of Delaware by visiting www.weareplannedparenthood.org

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4 Guestbook messages for Dorothy Levis Munroe

  • My deepest sympathy to the family of Dot Munroe. My late husband, A. Julian Valbuena, and I have known Dot since we came to the University of Delaware in the fall of 1960. They were among the first couple to welcome us. I played tennis with Dot on the UD courts, attended faculty functions with her, and later we met again at Cokesbury Village. She loved to talk about politics and world history and their summer home on Cape Cod. She will be missed.

  • I send my love and sympathy to Dot’s family. I will be leaving to teach a photograph preservation workshop in Trinidad on June 29th and I will sadly miss the memorial service. Dot was special to many of us at the University of Delaware. I loved attending events where she was present and felt most honored to sit next to her from time to time where she engaged and inspired me with stories about her amazing life experiences and accomplishments. She was remarkable – always positive, always smiling, always happy to be surrounded by others. And I loved being with her. My husband Bob and I will will treasure our time with Dot, the time we spent with her sons who often escorted her, and many memories. All the best, Debbie Norris

  • I truly enjoy being your mom’s doctor these past few years! She was sharp, kind, and had a great sense of humor! She talked about her children and grand-children often, never shy to tell me how well everyone was doing and how proud she was of them. I loved listening to her stories, especially the one where she beat this man in tennis who dared to say to your mom that women couldn’t play tennis as well as men. Your mom told him, “I showed him who was better!” I am really going to miss her. I was really hoping we could celebrate Trump’s defeat in the next election together.

  • My husband, Bob, and I adored Dorothy! What a woman of spirit! We saw her often at the University at various events. She was always positive ! And , of course, we loved Dr Monroe. Generations of my family knew him through his academic work.
    Two wonderful people that we were fortunate to have known!
    Sincerely,
    Mary Wolcott Davis