Obituary: Leo vanMunching, 62, adored son, brother, cherished husband

Leo vanMunching III, 62, died February 6, 2018, in San Francisco, California, after a long illness. His beloved wife, Laura, was by his side.

Leo was an adored son, the oldest of the eight children of Peggy Van Munching and the late Leo Van Munching, Jr.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Southern California, received a Masters Degree in Education from Stanford University, and entered the doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Known for his brilliant mind, unending curiosity, and constant questioning, Leo was a philosophy instructor at U.C. Berkeley. Leo’s focus was on ethics.  Scouring newspapers and media sites, he engaged students by applying philosophical principles to contemporary issues and events. Leo loved learning and teaching, emphasizing the need for critical thinking and informed debate.

After leaving academia, Leo began a successful career in photography, capturing the people and architecture of San Francisco.  Leo was fully engaged when scouting areas, carrying and setting up his 8x10 view camera, carefully choosing the best angle, and then patiently waiting for the right light. He was equally adept at capturing a spontaneous moment in a crowd with his small digital camera. His portraits challenged the viewer to accept his diverse subjects on their own terms. Leo’s work is recognized and exhibited throughout the Bay Area.

Leo was a cherished husband whom Laura loved beyond measure.  He personified loving kindness, and was a treasured and admired brother to Jan (Chuck), Pieter, Paul (Heather), Tesa, Anne (Peter), Philip, and Chris (Kim); brother-in-law to Mark (Joni); and uncle to many nieces and nephews.  He was a devoted friend, sought after for his encyclopedic knowledge of music and books, his insight and wise counsel, and his infectious sense of humor. He lived his life, and fought his illness, with grace, courage, and dignity.

Memorial contributions can be made by check payable to “UCSF Foundation” with a note in the memo line to support Drs. Jennifer Clarke, Mary De May, and Michael McDermott. Please also note the gift is in memory of Leo Van Munching III. Checks should be mailed to: UCSF Foundation, Box 45339, San Francisco, CA 94145-0339