Charles `Red' Muntain, 82, labor relations official

January 22, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Charles Thomas "Red" Muntain, a one-time ironworker who became a labor relations official and aide to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, died Jan. 15 in Centreville. He was 82.

Family members said Mr. Muntain suffered from dementia and drowned after falling off a Corsica River pier adjacent to his home. He had moved to Centreville from Crofton in 1987.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Highlandtown, he attended Calvert Hall College High School and served in the Navy aboard the USS Overton in the North Atlantic during World War II.

After the war, he worked on construction projects as a member of the AFL-CIO International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers Local 16 in Baltimore. He later became its business agent, and was elected president of the Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council.

While working, he earned degrees in industrial management and law from the University of Baltimore. He later taught labor law at the University of Maryland and at American University in Washington.

In 1958, he joined the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington as director of the Office of Equal Employment. He later was a labor relations specialist for the U.S. Post Office and special assistant in labor relations to HUD Secretary George W. Romney in the Nixon administration, beginning in 1969. Newspaper articles at the time said Mr. Muntain was an advocate of safety standards for unskilled workers.

"What I found fascinating about Charles was that he was an ironworker who put himself through college. He was a man who built physical bridges as an ironworker and who built relationships between management and labor. He had overwhelming sense of being fair," said the Rev. William J. Lawler, pastor of Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church in Centreville.

In 1977, Mr. Muntain took up a private practice in labor relations and also became a labor relations specialist for Strescon Industries in Odenton.

In retirement, he was a member of the Queen Anne's County Commission on Aging and a trustee of the Labor International Union's pension plan in Philadelphia.

Mr. Muntain was a former Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 357 in Ferndale. He had been a Queen Anne's County Meals on Wheels volunteer and member of the Knights of Columbus.

A funeral Mass was offered Tuesday at Mother of Sorrows.

Survivors include his wife of nearly 58 years, the former Lois M. Repogle; a son, Wayne Muntain of New Enterprise, Pa.; four daughters, Miriam Retkofsky of Apopka, Fla., the Rev. Karen Dize of Queenstown, Mary Beth Gardner of Centreville and Kathleen Bahus of Baltimore; a sister, Mary Hemelt of Bel Air; 11 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Another son, Michael Muntain, died in 1968.

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