Charles W. Munnerlyn, 80, licensed building engineer

September 10, 2004

Charles W. Munnerlyn, a retired licensed building engineer and accomplished woodworker, died of heart failure Sept. 3 at Casey House Hospice in Rockville. The longtime Laurel resident was 80.

Mr. Munnerlyn was born in Newport News, Va., and was raised there and in Rocky Mount, N.C. He enlisted in the Navy in 1941 at age 17 and was assigned to the engine room crew of the destroyer USS Claxton.

He was aboard during the ship's participation in some of the most famous World War II naval engagements of the Pacific war and during a kamikaze attack in 1944 that seriously damaged the ship's compartments, killing five and wounding 23.

"He continued to operate the engines below as Japanese planes and submarines attacked the ship above," said David Phillips, his son-in-law.

Mr. Munnerlyn remained in the Navy until 1949, then attended night school in the early 1950s to become a licensed building engineer. He held jobs at what is now the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel and the old Neisner's Department Store, both in Washington.

During the 1960s and 1970s, he was building engineer for Litton Corp, in Bethesda, and during the last 14 years of his career worked for Collier Pinkard, a Baltimore commercial real estate firm. He retired in 2000.

Mr. Munnerlyn enjoyed making shelves and stools that were decorated in the tole style of painting by his wife of 58 years, the former Doris Manning. He also was an avid bicyclist and enjoyed riding until he was in his late 70s.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Laurel Presbyterian Church, 7610 Old Sandy Spring Road, where he was a member and deacon.

Survivors also include a daughter, Charla Phillips of Columbia; two grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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