Trustee Michael J. Mungo dies
Michael J. Mungo, a retired real-estate developer, philanthropist and longtime member of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees, died Sunday, April 11. He was 82.
Mungo was a devoted alumnus of USC and served on the Board of Trustees from the 11th Judicial Circuit from 1969 - 78 and again from 1982 to the present. He was vice chairman of the board from 1988 – 92 and was chairman emeritus from 1992 - 96. He was serving on the board’s executive, fiscal-policy and intercollegiate-athletics committees at the time of his death.
At USC, he funded the Michael J. Mungo undergraduate and graduate teaching awards. The Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award is considered the highest honor for teaching at USC.
“Michael Mungo was the personification of loyalty, and his life story is an inspiration to all the Carolina faithful,” USC President Harris Pastides said. “He gave his heart and soul to the University of South Carolina, and students, faculty and countless alumni have benefited from his selfless philanthropy, his wise counsel and his strong leadership. He will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live on through the scholarships and awards that he created, his work on the Board of Trustees and his involvement with so many important organizations on our campus.”
Mungo founded The Mungo Co. in 1954 and developed the Riverside Forest subdivision off Broad River Road. The business is run by his sons, Steven and Stewart, and has grown into one of the country’s largest home-building firms, having developed more than 50 subdivisions in suburban Columbia.
Mungo was born April 7, 1928, in Bethune, one of seven children born to Walter Whiteford and Beatrice Baker Mungo. He was 11 when his father, a logger and lumber dealer, died. His mother moved the family to Rock Hill, and Michael Mungo graduated from Rock Hill High School in 1945. He received an AB degree in government from USC in 1950. As a student, Mungo worked as a radio announcer for WRHI in Rock Hill and WNOK in Columbia and as a self-employed wallboard applicator, a job that would spark his interest in homebuilding.
He volunteered for service in the Army Air Corps from 1946-47 and in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1952 during the Korean War. He did graduate work at USC from 1952 to 1953, teaching American government.
After a year working in real estate, Mungo started his own home-building company and developed Riverside Forest off Broad River Road. He then bought 200 acres that would become his flagship subdivision, Whitehall, located in Irmo, and the place where he lived until his death Sunday.
In addition to his work as a developer, Mungo was active in public service and charitable work. He endowed hundreds of scholarships for students at colleges and universities around the state, including USC, Midlands Technical College, Columbia College and Voorhees College. Three years ago, Mungo raised money to make sure 1,600 members of the S.C. National Guard, training in Mississippi, were home for Christmas. Through his family-run Mungo Foundation, he provided Christmas toys for tens of thousands of children living in homes with incomes below the poverty level.
In 1969, he was the South Carolina chairman of the United Negro College Fund. He created the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Housing, now the S.C. Housing Authority. Mungo worked with the Rev. I. DeQuincey Newman to develop and establish the Statewide Homes Foundation, a self-help organization in the African-American community for development of homes.
In 1996, he received the Order of the Palmetto for his philanthropic and humanitarian works and was inducted into the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame.
Mungo married twice, first to Mary Meech Mungo and then to Jennifer Brewer Mungo, both of whom died of breast cancer.
Mungo’s funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 1512 Blanding St., Columbia. The family will receive friends from 5 - 7 p.m. Tuesday at Dunbar Funeral Home, Dutch Fork Chapel, 7600 Woodrow St., Irmo. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Harvest Hope Food Bank, 2220 Shop Road, Columbia, SC 29201 or Episcopal Relief and Development, ATTN: Haiti Fund, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.